Holding out Hope
BY BRIDGETT NESBIT
What Mary Davidson wants the most cannot be gift-wrapped and placed under a tree.
She wants justice.
Her mother, Ethel White Weaver, was found stabbed to death in her Bond Street home in 1992.
Although 25 years have passed since that horrific day, Davidson hasn't given up hope that her mother's killer will be caught. Once a year, she publishes an advertisement on her mother’s birthday offering a reward for information leading to a conviction in the case.
“In cold cases, you have to do something on your own and hope that someone comes forward,” Davidson said. "We pray that God will touch a heart, uncover clues that lead to answers."
The smallest detail or memory can breathe new life into a cold case investigation, and the Statesville Police Department is committed to following up on every lead regardless of how much time has passed.
"The families of these victims deserve answers," SPD Captain Bryan Johnson said. "And we are committed to bringing those responsible for the homicides … to justice."
The SPD has 16 unsolved murder cases dating back to March 16, 1988. The victims are young and old, black and white. In most of the cases, the victims were shot or stabbed or beaten to death.
There have been great advances in forensic science since Weaver, 68, was murdered. Investigators have technology at their disposal now that was not available at the time.
That gives Davidson and others who have lost loved ones reason to remain hopeful even though many years have passed since the crimes.
But the holidays are a difficult time. Memories of time spent together with those who were killed also rekindle memories associated with the crimes.
"They live in our hearts so we hope for some news, someone coming forward," Davidson said.
WALL OF SILENCE
Sandy Davidson founded the Iredell Homicide Support Group five years ago, following the murder of her nephew, Joey Brewer.
The wall of silence surrounding some of these cases is difficult to comprehend for those who are grieving for their loved ones.
"You know someone somewhere knows something,” Davidson said. “When it's someone you, love it's heartbreaking to know that the killer maybe among you.”
The support group will continue to help those who are left behind by calling attention to cold cases.
"We continue to keep their cases alive because it only takes one person to make the difference and speak up."
Here are the SPD’S unsolved murder cases:
• March 16, 1988: Delmer Gene Edwards was beaten and stabbed to death inside his home at 218 East End Avenue.
• Jan. 3, 1992: Ethel Weaver was stabbed to death in her home at 538 Bond Street.
• Feb. 3, 1992: Ernest Gill Sr. was stabbed to death at 311 Stockton Street.
• Feb. 5, 1992: Linzy Williams was shot inside his vehicle at 436 North Tradd Street.
• May 6, 1992: Rosa Bratcher was beaten to death in her home at 521 Fayetteville Avenue by an intruder.
• Sept. 25, 1992: Michael Scott and Willie Allison were shot and killed during a home invasion at 746 Washington Street.
• Dec. 21, 1993: Kenneth Moser and Brady Lowtharpe were shot to death inside a home at 1715 5th Street Extension.
• Dec. 4, 1998: Willie D. Connor was shot and transported to 809-A Caldwell Street, where he collapsed and later died.
• May 25, 2001: John L. Davis was shot at the back door of his residence at 1226-C Wilson Lee Boulevard.
• July 10, 2003: Charles W. Ikard was shot in his apartment at 1226-A Wilson Lee Boulevard during an altercation.
• Nov. 1, 2004: Jimmie M. Walker was shot near CVS at 174 Turnersburg Highway.
• Oct. 19, 2008: Cadet Lopez Blackwell was shot outside of house party at 510 Hickory Avenue.
• Sept. 12, 2011: Joey Brewer was shot in the parking lot of an apartment complex at 259 Jonathan Lane.
• Aug. 30, 2015: Leon Bradshaw was shot inside of a residence at 1014 Wilmington Avenue during a house party.
• March 27, 2017: The body of Darwin “D.J.” Turner was found buried in a wooded area off Mahogany Road.
• July 17, 2017: Shaun Antwan Holmes was fatally wounded in the street outside apartments at 311 Winona Street.
REWARDS OFFERED FOR INFORMATION
If you have any information and have not come forward, or know of anyone with information, regarding any of these cases, you are urged to contact the Criminal Investigations Division at 704-878-3515 or 704-878-3516 as soon as possible. A cash reward is possible.
Below are photos of some of the victims in the unsolved murder cases: