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Regi

Unsolved Triple Murder, North Carolina, 1972

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skliss

I also think that the perps were possibly already in the house having entered thru the broken garage door before the family got home and maybe had no luck in finding what it was they were looking for, or didn't have time to get done whatever they were there for, before the family got home. So they wait until the 3 were settled in and then pop out from the basement or where ever taking them by surprise.

Also, say Virginia was knocked unconscious and woke confused....she may have automatically dialed her daughters number and if the perps wore ski masks or covered their faces in some way she may have translated that into "black" when she woke up. If they were known to the family it's possible they covered their faces in anticipation of being seen.

Unfortunately there are so many possible variables without new evidence pointing in one definitive direction all we have is speculation.

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asheonce
9 hours ago, regi said:

I don't remember reading that, but I do remember questioning it. Where does that info. come from?

 

It was covered in the detective magazine article from 1972. It recounted how Troy/Cecil tried all the doors and looked in windows before sliding under the garage door.

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Regi
29 minutes ago, asheonce said:

It was covered in the detective magazine article from 1972. It recounted how Troy/Cecil tried all the doors and looked in windows before sliding under the garage door.

Well I consulted that article before I asked and I didn't find where it's reported that the doors were locked, just that there was no answer.

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rashore

Since regi first introduced this topic if Febuary of 2014, there has been a lot of conversation and speculation in this thread. So much so a lot of links have been buried... members have drifted in and out of the conversation... hash and overhash has happened. I figured it would be nice to post a sum up of a lot of the information introduced since then.

I'm going to do this in chronological order as posts were made. If there are links that are duplicates later on, I'm going to leave those out, and just concentrate on compiling sources in one place. I will also note when links have gone dead.

#1: regi presents our case: Winston-Salem Journal. Winston Salem NC. 2/3/12: http://www.journalnow.com/news/local/article_3f04e50f-a3a2-5aed-9dfb-c0118871ac34.html

#3: link referring to a book on the subject, Wautauga Democrat- link no longer directs to the book.

#8: several links.

The Times-News, 2/4/72. Screen print of newspaper article: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1665&dat=19720204&id=wi8aAAAAIBAJ&sjid=gSQEAAAAIBAJ&pg=4928,2534985

The Record, 2/1/12. Wilkes County. Article about the case:http://www.therecordofwilkes.com/newsa.asp?edition_number=641&pg=F

Yes Weekly- dead link

I did it for Jody- Overlapping Murders, Presidential Edition: Travels with Cecil- 12/29/13: an interesting article about Cecil Small. Includes several good photographs of the crime scene.  https://ididitforjodie.com/2013/12/29/overlapping-murders-presidential-edition-travels-with-cecil/

Some of the space between #8 and #88 is devoted to the dead Yes Weekly link- and this primarily concentrates on the Jimmy.

#88: dead link

#123: GoWilkes forum discussion about this from around 2010, full of local gossip about this: http://www.gowilkes.com/voice/who-killed-the-durham-family-heres-my-story/77993/?startview=180&h=172523

#126, several links. All scanned article format:

Star-News, 2/5/72: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1454&dat=19720205&id=iMwyAAAAIBAJ&sjid=vQkEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3064,640535

Herald-Journal, 2/6/72: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1876&dat=19720206&id=FHcsAAAAIBAJ&sjid=EMwEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6136,697117

Star-News, 2/6/72: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1454&dat=19720206&id=fswyAAAAIBAJ&sjid=vQkEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5739,813790

Star News, 2/8/72: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1454&dat=19720208&id=iswyAAAAIBAJ&sjid=vQkEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2426,1218893

Star News, 2/13/72: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1454&dat=19720213&id=hMwyAAAAIBAJ&sjid=vQkEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2451,2128046

Star-News, 3/26/72: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1454&dat=19720306&id=68EsAAAAIBAJ&sjid=wAkEAAAAIBAJ&pg=4489,1192776

Daily news, 3/3/72: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1241&dat=19720303&id=C29TAAAAIBAJ&sjid=8IUDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3764,1679774

The Times, 4/25/72: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1665&dat=19720425&id=h5BPAAAAIBAJ&sjid=hyQEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3432,4820285

The Dispatch, 4/25/72: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1734&dat=19720425&id=bTceAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Rb8EAAAAIBAJ&pg=5329,4644302

The Dispatch, 4/27/72:https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1734&dat=19720427&id=bzceAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Rb8EAAAAIBAJ&pg=7121,5017928

The Dispatch, 9/20/72: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1734&dat=19720920&id=YHkcAAAAIBAJ&sjid=AVIEAAAAIBAJ&pg=7269,1435175

Herald-Journal, 2/17/89:https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1876&dat=19890217&id=T24sAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Us4EAAAAIBAJ&pg=6992,511196

#133: a post linking to the book referenced in #3 that was a dead link. Another dead link. Current addition, this is the book: https://www.amazon.com/Haunted-Watauga-County-Carolina-America/dp/1609492153

#174: dead link

#189: The Murder Room. This book discusses the case: https://books.google.com/books?id=ZUDh6fV8DKUC&pg=PT132&lpg=PT132&dq=bryce+durham+the+murder+room&source=bl&ots=MEZnn9lk00&sig=ocMgUENgbu4YX1snYbh6LqxxHj8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=RgrdU8eJLoKNyAT4lIHQCA&ved=0CCQQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=bryce durham the murder room&f=false

#199. A detective journal, Detective Magazine, October 1972 is reported to have this case on the front cover, with detailed information.

#205: Watauga Democrat, 1/31/15: http://www.wataugademocrat.com/news/investigation-of-durham-family-s-slaying-continues/article_e16a2616-a983-11e4-9e07-bbfdbdd91c44.html

#235: Websleuths discussion page about the case: http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?256704-NC-Durham-family-murder-Boone-2-Feb-1972

#249: filedropper scan of the journal mentioned in #199: dead link now. *note- I do have the PDF download, I will post it further below

#463: Agent Whitman passes away. http://www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com/obituary.php?name=1400

http://www.wataugademocrat.com/obituaries/charles-edward-whitman/article_766a9faa-b15b-11e4-ae77-03a42662f0bf.html

#507: A CCP from the Charlotte Observer, 6/15/1994: "Edited by Stan Brennan Investigators hoping to solve a 22-year-old mystery have asked a Wilkes County judge for permission to dig up a grave and take fingerprints from a man who died in 1978. Sources familiar with the case say they need the prints to compare them with those found at the scene of the killing of the Durham family on Feb. 3, 1972. Bryce Durham, 51; his wife, Virginia, 46; and their son Bobby Joe, 18, were found strangled and beaten in the bathroom of their Boone home. In a petition filed Monday in Wilkes County Superior Court, the district attorney argues that exhuming the body of Benny Hyte Staley ``would be beneficial to law enforcement.'' The petition does not mention the Durham case. It refers to a ``serious unsolved felony crime'' that happened in Watauga County. Staley's family, who said investigators told them the request involved the Durham case, said they intend to fight the petition. * "

#509: A CCP in relation to #507: "This is a quote from a previously referenced link to an article on GoWilkes website where the Durham murders were being discussed in 2010:

"There was a article in the W-S Journal entitled "Worry" Exhumation RequestUpsets Family. Sorry, I have a copy of the article but not the date. The article was written by Vincent Morris and reads "State investigators want to exhume Benny Staley. They want to take fingerprints and palm prints. Sources familiar with the case said that the interest centers on the Durham family murders." The article goes on to say that Staley a Wilkes County native dropped out of high school in 1968 and in 1970 joined the Marine Corp. He was discharged in 1974 and returned to Wilkes to resume life with his wife Donna Combs Staley of Hays and their daughter, Angie. He went to work for Hardee's in N.W. and was soon managing it. In the next few years, Benny was arrested many times. Among the charges were assault with a deadly weapon, breaking and entering, larceny and possession of marijuana.

In 1977 Staley was convicted of larceny and safe cracking and sentences to 12 yrs in prison, but he appealed and was out of jail awaiting a court hearing on the night of his death, March 14, 1978.

At 10:15 pm Staley (26) was driving east on NC 268. In the passenger seat was Sandra K. WIlliams (16), who worked with him at Hardee's. His car hit an embankment about a mile east of NW. He was thrown from the car, and moments later a car traveling the opposite direction ran over him. The NCSHP said, he was dead before he was run over. Williams was slightly injured."

#517: GoWilkes discussion page about #507&509. It's the same site originally posted in #123, but a different page with the actual pertinent information: http://www.gowilkes.com/voice/view/?startview=20&msg=77993

#518: The Dispatch, 6/15/72: https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=5w0eAAAAIBAJ&sjid=s1EEAAAAIBAJ&dq=durham charges chandler boone&pg=7388%2C4295355

#528: several articles. All scanned article format

2/3/72- dead link

The Evening Independent, 2/4/72: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=950&dat=19720204&id=-1hQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=x1cDAAAAIBAJ&pg=1452,1216406&hl=en

The Bryan Times, 2/5/72: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=799&dat=19720205&id=gE8LAAAAIBAJ&sjid=a1IDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6154,1974095&hl=en

The Dispatch, 3/2/72: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1734&dat=19720302&id=RzceAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Rb8EAAAAIBAJ&pg=4429,298194&hl=en

Herald-Journal, 6/5/73: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1876&dat=19730605&id=iW4sAAAAIBAJ&sjid=r8sEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6246,698507&hl=en

#542, page 22: Winston-Salem Journal, 6/16/72: This one is an actual image of the printed article. I'll put up that one below.

# 596: Funeral services for Mack Brown- he purchased the dealership after the murders. http://www.hcpress.com/news/funeral-services-for-well-known-watauga-native-mack-brown-held-today-at-laurel-springs-baptist-church.html

#921: Discovery ID article, dead link

#948-950, page 38: mapping images of the area and locations.

#970, Mildred Smalls obit- Mildred was Cecils widow: http://www.wataugademocrat.com/obituaries/mildred-clawson-small/article_df2c7855-2335-5312-8629-758985370d87.html

#983, location of the old A&P store: https://alookbackatwatauga.wordpress.com/2009/10/

#994: historical article that appears to have the old A&P too: http://omeka.library.appstate.edu/collections/show/53

#1183: Lois Sebastian's obit. Lois was Troys sister, and his brothers are listed in the obit. http://www.reinssturdivant.com/obituary/Lois-Hall-Sebastian/North-Wilkesboro-NC/1131888

 

And that's all the links so far.

It's a bummer that the Yes Weekly article isn't around anymore- it's been the point of a lot of discussion here and elsewhere. There are a couple more random links I can toss in right now...

A theory about the Durham murders adn Jeffery MacDonald: http://jbrwdi.forumotion.com/t715-jeffrey-macdonald-1972-durham-triple-murders-same-killers-theory

An interesting reddit thread that was started in August of this year: https://www.reddit.com/r/UnresolvedMysteries/comments/4zsb03/in_the_winter_of_1972_troy_hall_recieved_a/

Historic aerials- this has various topographic and aerial maps from 1938-2012: http://www.historicaerials.com/?javascript=&scale=6&year=1965&lat=43.2601656746694&lon=-91.1597939905234

 

I'll be following up this post with an image heavy post...

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rashore

And the image heavy post...

Detective Magazine, October 1972. Mentioned in #199 & #249.

 

magazine.jpg

magazine 2.jpg

magazine 3.jpg

magazine 4.jpg

magazine 5.jpg

magazine 6.jpg

magazine 7.jpg

magazine 8.jpg

magazine 9.jpg

 

Winston-Salem Journal, 6/16/72. Image posted in #542

post-149658-0-19112900-1433385393.jpg

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ArgusRaygun
On 10/5/2016 at 9:33 AM, rashore said:

True, there are many assumptions- we don't really know Ginnys side, she is mostly left out of the papers. I'm of the mind she wasn't in on it because it plays better than if she had been acting the whole time for Small and then the authorities. I do however think that Ginny might have known some, if not all, of what happened later- possibly to keep her mouth shut and not accidentally be too helpful in her ignorance. Or maybe she never knew, but suspected. Since she's still alive she could still be interviewed again about it all, but I think it's extremely unlikely this will happen.

Quote

I keep going back to Quo Va? (who benefits)....is it true she inherited around $250,000 ( I read this but no confirmation).  I would also be interested to see their 1976 divorce file. Was their spousal violence involved? 

She might not have been able to run, but she might have been able to crawl- and there is the possibility that the perps forced her to call, and she didn't get away at all. And there are a lot of people even today that live out in nowhere that call their neighbor or family member before they call emergency services during crappy weather situations. Like when cousin Dave has a snowplow but you know the three plows and two cops in town are busy dealing with stupid drivers in town. Or you know that your family is closer than the authorities. I can't say I agree with the wisdom of people doing this, but it goes on and has been going on for ages. If Virginia was calling in panic during her freed moment, it just might have been habit for her to call family before trying the operator.

Quote

Why would the perps force her to call?  It just does not strike me as plausible. 

And it's a general way more likely for inside garage doors to be unlocked, not just specific to Boone. People in general are more likely to leave the inside garage door unlocked than their front door. I live in an area that leaves it's doors unlocked a lot- and it's common to lock garage doors or have an automatic garage door,  though not so common to lock front doors. And people just always leave that inside garage door unlocked. I've seen it in big cities like Milwaukee and Chicago too, where everyone is paranoid about every door being locked- except that inside garage door. It's a B&E sweet spot- why even bother trying the front door and possibly leaving tracks that might not be snowed in later when you can walk the grass verge that is very likely to hide your tracks and slip into an already open garage that is almost guaranteed to have that inside door unlocked.

 

But then, I'm one of the camp that believes this was well planned, and the perps were in place when the family came home. I think they slipped in, using the garage door to not raise notice- in case it didn't snow enough and the family might have been alarmed to see those footsteps going up to the front door. It's just wise criminal behavior. Whoever these guys were (and yes, I think there had to be more than one) were darn smart about how to carry this off.

Quote

They could have been waiting for them..depends on if the Durhams locked their doors when they were not home (seemed they would since they had valuables).  It begs the questions...why did the perps wait long enough for the family to fix a snack?  Every minute they do not attack raises the risk of early discovery.  Why no wet footprints that the Durhams would have noticed?   Too many question we'll never have the answers to....

And you said you lived in the county for 13 years? When was this? I'm really hoping you say back in that era, at least a bit. It sure would be nice to have someone in the conversation that can confirm where things were at that time from their own eyes.

Quote

only the last 13 years.  I was 3 when this happened!

 

 

Edited by ArgusRaygun

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ArgusRaygun
43 minutes ago, ArgusRaygun said:

 

 

43 minutes ago, ArgusRaygun said:

 

 

55 minutes ago, rashore said:

 

 

I read through the magazine article and it seems like the account contradicts the other accounts in several areas. It also seems like they dramatized the narrative heavily. Was this known as a reputable magazine in its time is it more of a pulp kind of publication? 

Anyone with more knowledge of the case know how many facts are right vs. Wrong in the detective mag? 

 

Edited by ArgusRaygun
Too many images and new questions

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asheonce

Rashore, thanks so much for summarizing and reposting all that good stuff. It will make it easier for new readers of the thread.

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asheonce
8 hours ago, ArgusRaygun said:

 

 

I read through the magazine article and it seems like the account contradicts the other accounts in several areas. It also seems like they dramatized the narrative heavily. Was this known as a reputable magazine in its time is it more of a pulp kind of publication? 

Anyone with more knowledge of the case know how many facts are right vs. Wrong in the detective mag? 

 

It's probably standard detective magazine style from the 1970s. It does seem to be fluffed up in some areas, but it's the only thing I've ever been able to find that gave detailed info about the early investigation and arrest of the four men from Asheville area.

One thing that was definitely exaggerated was the weather situation. Since your from Boone, you can tell by looking at the house photo from the day after that it was really not that bad. Probably a typical February night in Boone, very strong chilling wind, maybe some ice, but the snow was mainly windblown and not much accumulation at all.

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docyabut2
On 1/7/2016 at 7:47 PM, asheonce said:

Hi Docy,

Just have to say. Your theory would mean that Ginny would have participated in killing her younger brother. That just seems unlikely to me.

Also, autopsy showed that Bobby had bruises around his mouth indicating that he had been gagged. Why would the Halls do that?

That seems more like the actions of violent contract killers acting on a grudge. Or torturing someone to obtain information about the whereabouts of items in the home.

 Its clear someone came in on them when one of them was was eating.The Halls still could have come in through the garage, angry they could not get a car when their`s were broke down,  Ginny may have  participated in killing her younger brother through totally jealousy of her parents doing more for him. Its what I think happen  a fight broke out causing the Halls to attack  the Durhams and in  setting up the whole scene to making it looked like a robbery. Remember the foot stool  in the pictures it was set there not thrown there.

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asheonce
2 hours ago, docyabut2 said:

 Its clear someone came in on them when one of them was was eating.The Halls still could have come in through the garage, angry they could not get a car when their`s were broke down,  Ginny may have  participated in killing her younger brother through totally jealousy of her parents doing more for him. Its what I think happen  a fight broke out causing the Halls to attack  the Durhams and in  setting up the whole scene to making it looked like a robbery. Remember the foot stool  in the pictures it was set there not thrown there.

Hi Docy,

But then what's your explanation for the Jimmy? Are you thinking that the Halls would go to the trouble of driving the Jimmy 2-3 miles away from the home, leave it where it was found, and then come back to the house? Why would they do that?

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docyabut2
9 hours ago, asheonce said:

Hi Docy,

But then what's your explanation for the Jimmy? Are you thinking that the Halls would go to the trouble of driving the Jimmy 2-3 miles away from the home, leave it where it was found, and then come back to the house? Why would they do that?

Yes they wanted to make it looked like a robbery,  by putting  sliver dishes from the house in the back seat of the jimmy, and also remember Troy went to the dealer ship the very next day and took a car,  still  angry they could not get a car when their`s was broke down

Edited by docyabut2

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docyabut2

As far as important documents, who`s going to hide them in a bread box? More like in a safe.

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asheonce
4 minutes ago, docyabut2 said:

As far as important documents, who`s going to hide them in a bread box? More like in a safe.

Good point, and actually, I've wondered if that's what was really meant by the "bread box" term. Like maybe it was really a safe, but for some reason they chose to refer to it as a breadbox in the article. The magazine article refers to the bread box being in the basement. And in another thread about this case someone said that there was actually a safe in basement, located under the stairs, maybe built into the back of basement stairs.

So I don't know why investigators would publicly refer to it as a bread box. Maybe someone on here with a law enforcement background could share some insight. 

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docyabut2
2 minutes ago, asheonce said:

Good point, and actually, I've wondered if that's what was really meant by the "bread box" term. Like maybe it was really a safe, but for some reason they chose to refer to it as a breadbox in the article. The magazine article refers to the bread box being in the basement. And in another thread about this case someone said that there was actually a safe in basement, located under the stairs, maybe built into the back of basement stairs.

So I don't know why investigators would publicly refer to it as a bread box. Maybe someone on here with a law enforcement background could share some insight. 

I don't know if you looked at my posts of why the Halls may have beat up their  family and killed them , over a denied  use of a car

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skliss

"beat up their  family and killed them , over a denied  use of a car"

Seems a little excessive!

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docyabut2
3 minutes ago, skliss said:

"beat up their  family and killed them , over a denied  use of a car"

Seems a little excessive!

Its not there are least cases of why  people kill their  families, in this case  the scenario all fits.

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asheonce
1 hour ago, docyabut2 said:

I don't know if you looked at my posts of why the Halls may have beat up their  family and killed them , over a denied  use of a car

Yes, I read your posts Docy.

That theory would seem to be quite a stretch to me. If they did that, and they drove the Jimmy to the place where it was abandoned, why would they come back. Why wouldn't they just go home and let the bodies be discovered the next day after Bryce didn't show up for work at dealership?

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docyabut2
1 hour ago, asheonce said:

Yes, I read your posts Docy.

That theory would seem to be quite a stretch to me. If they did that, and they drove the Jimmy to the place where it was abandoned, why would they come back. Why wouldn't they just go home and let the bodies be discovered the next day after Bryce didn't show up for work at dealership?

They got stuck in the snow when they got back and could not leave.

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docyabut2
7 hours ago, docyabut2 said:

They got stuck in the snow when they got back and could not leave.

 Cecil,  Troy and Ginny, to add  two had to drive the car they came to  staged  the jimmy,,  while one  staged the house.  When they got back with Cecil`s  truck, they really got stuck in the snow.  They had to walk to the next apartment  to call the police,  giving the c*** and bull story  Ginny`s mother called  and said there were three black men,  That's  my guess

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rashore

Information update... The 2007 YES! Weekly article that went missing a while back has now been archived and is available for reading again...

http://yesweekly.com/Cold-Case-a8548/

 

 

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skliss

Interesting!  One thing that stands out to me is that none of these many investigators seem to be suspicious of the daughter and son-in-law. Also that's the first time ever I've heard anyone say they were tied up in a military style.

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asheonce
20 minutes ago, skliss said:

Interesting!  One thing that stands out to me is that none of these many investigators seem to be suspicious of the daughter and son-in-law. Also that's the first time ever I've heard anyone say they were tied up in a military style.

If you pay attention to what the SBI Inspector Whitman says, I think he was suspicious of the son-in-law. He uses the words "allegedly" and "supposedly" a couple of times when describing Troy's whereabouts and the phone call.

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skliss

I think that's a legal thing. No one wants to get sued. They mention several times that it seemed like a contract killing. This was also the first time I heard that the night deposit bag was on the table, undisturbed. So that wasn't the motive. 

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docyabut2
16 hours ago, skliss said:

I think that's a legal thing. No one wants to get sued. They mention several times that it seemed like a contract killing. This was also the first time I heard that the night deposit bag was on the table, undisturbed. So that wasn't the motive. 

I still think it was Troy and Ginny at the scene, who killed their family , they got stuck and couldn't get away and made up the whole story :( The police never checked the truck they came in for any evidence

Edited by docyabut2
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