The Shocking Florida Machete Murder
This. Week on BuzzFeed absolved we take a look into the Florida machete murder about Thalia pond South Winsley in our continuing, exploration into. Why Florida is the way that it is it, is a unique place with some funny stories coming out of it they have the magical world of Harry Potter or, the is it the Wizarding World what about Miami Beach baby yeah, sure Miami Beach never been yeah. You don't seem like a Miami Beach type anyways, we're here to talk about a machete murder and also, we have talked about Florida in the past we investigated, that lady who exploded in her living room I loved, that lady, you, did I mean I didn't know it. Was the size of a tiny little teaspoon, or a tea cup anyways. Let's get into it, born. Into a life of privilege, Adelie upon sale Linsley was a former Broadway actress model, inventor. Real estate agent and author, she. Was according, to her detractors, in the Orlando Sentinel a sharp tongued aggressive, woman who quote would not have won any popularity contests. End quote, indeed. In 1970. At Bally I ran for Florida Legislature, and lost, I. Feel. Like a mark of true success is when you have detractors, that's. A wonderful thing like when you get haters oh yeah that's like a the. Old way to say that yeah yeah yeah I would love some haters yeah. I'd love some haters too why don't you take a long walk down a short pier, I like it well that's too general, and too, hypothetical I like what he gets pointed, like oh I hate his stupid beady, eyes. Rooster. Rooster. Look. At that a little surf wave on his head I'm gonna go I'm, gonna get my little boogie board and surf that in the morning, in 1973. Adalia. Married James Linsley, a real estate agent, and the former mayor of st. Augustine, Florida where italia' lived at the time while, they were married in September, by the next January, the two still lived in separate, homes, Elia, was trying to sell the house she was living in and didn't, want to leave it unoccupied before. Moving to her new husband's, home she, never got the opportunity now. It is funny that they are both real estate agents, and they cannot sell their house. You. Know you know maybe. They're just not that good at their jobs or maybe. Just maybe no. One wants to live in Florida I'm just imagining a bunch of people going do you you need a buy a house here's like I'm a real estate agent - do you want to buy a house here and that's just a big feedback loop I see whatever I ask your real, estate agent selling.
Real. Estate to other real estate I. Know you're ripping me off but I already have asked on January. 23rd. 1974. Between, 6:00 and 6:15, p.m., the, 56, year old Athaliah went outside to, walk her pet blue jay Clementine. She's. Taking her bird for a walk I loved that I had a wonderful little bird I understand, we all know you kept your bird in a freezer for two years the ground was hard we couldn't bury him yet for two years no it wasn't two years it was just over the harsh Chicago. Winter when the ground thawed we buried him in the garden we all know you ate that bird, we. All know ate a parrot, you did date, a parrot I loved him I'm done talking about my parrot. Not. Entertaining, with this. On. Her porch she encountered, a man wielding a machete who, proceeded, to hack her to death by. The time police arrived, athelia, had been nearly decapitated. Police, chief Virgil, Stewart said quote she, was dead when we got there she had, been badly butchered, her head was almost cut off and quote, clementine, the blue jay was, never seen again do, you think, this. Person maybe. Was. Clementines, original, owner and just wanted to the bird back I did not consider that possibility it's, actually not even in my theories well. It. Wouldn't be the first time you've glossed, over things well I do think, it's a bit of a jump to say hey that's my parrot I think, your head doesn't look good on your shoulders anymore so we know you're not one to jump to conclusions I don't do, haughty you, use only if I have some facts behind a big boy. Take. Away a. Neighbor. 19-year. Old lock McCormick, said he could hear a Dahlia screams from his house when, he went to check on Italia he discovered, her butchered body he, told police he saw a 40 to 60 year old man. A white, shirt and dark, pants walking, away from the house a witness, reported that there was blood in the grass quote, leading, all around the south side of the house and quote, at one, point a police, officer ordered the ambulance, attendants, to hose down the blood that, fly in the face of like, crime scene investigation. This hose everything. Maybe. Let's get this evidence out of here all. Right now I could think clearly. The. Sheriff offered a $500. Reward to, anyone with information on, the case On February, 17th. 1974. A County, mechanic, named Dewey Lee said, he'd searched the marshes, one mile from Linz Lee's home and discovered. A machete, and a package, containing a bloodied white shirt dark, pants a watch, and a pair of shoes after, a Thalia's, death Frances. Bemis a 70, year old retired department. Store public relations, exec and fashion, consultant told. Her friends that she knew something about the murder Bemis. Who was reportedly a friend, of Italia's was even said to have been collaborating with a writer on a book about Italia, after her death she did not seem afraid when Italia turned up slain telling. The st. Augustine record, quote I think st. Augustine, is the safest place I have ever lived I go out walking at night and will continue to do so I went out walking the same night that the murder took place end quote, I don't know what I'd make of that if you if this grisly, murder had occurred and, will and a woman just proudly, proclaimed, like well, I'm not afraid, maybe. If she knew her, well it's, her way of saying like well she must have been into something dirty baby that.
Kind Of stuff doesn't happen around here and let me show ya I'm gonna go on a walk right, now yeah Frances, indeed, continued to go walking at night including. On November, 3rd, 1974. A little over nine months after Italia, was murdered the, next day not far from where Italia, was murdered a man, walking his dog found Frances, dead in a vacant lot oh, no. What. That's unfortunately. The old picture, app on Frances Bemis oh oh. You. Know she, died doing what she loved she, did died. Doing what she loved, and look if, you're an old lady and this killer has already killed an old lady with something, as simple as a machete this, is not the zodiac it's not someone who's you, know pulling, a lot of strings and putting a lot of production, design into their work it's just walking up to some with a machete yeah on. The flip side of that - like do you won't challenge them who are you also like, making. Yourself a big man out to be yeah like ye oh you murdered, an old lady with a machete that's great Wow you must be really dangerous man, it's not like he murdered Macho Man Randy Savage out, there it's a it's, an old lady yeah, so. Uh good, for him I guess she, had apparently been clobbered repeatedly, with a stone block. She was semi-nude with most of her clothes having been ripped off though, an autopsy report found no indication, of rape an, account by the New York Daily News noted. That her body had been burned as though, a killer had tried to destroy the corpse. Another. Thing about this one is the the, attempt, to destroy. The evidence destroy, the body by burning it yeah, and then him going didn't, work right, so just, we could just, leave I guess I'll just be evidence, well we already know what they do what evidence hose off. Police. Chief Virgil, Stewart did not believe there was a connection between Francis, and Natalia's murders at the time with, two women violently, dead in st. Augustine Florida in 1974. It's, time to, dive into the theories the, first theory is that Italia's husband, james Linsley was responsible, for her murder, James, was an easygoing, real-estate agent, who had served two terms as mayor of st. Augustine, though, they lived in separate homes James, said they did not have marital problems.
Adalia. However, had sent letters to her sister showing them were having issues quote. Jimmy, is a completely, a complete, liar end quote, she wrote in one letter she also said she changed the locks of her house there, was also gossip, among community, members that the crime scene was hosed down too heck James's involvement, according. To Elizabeth Randall, author of a book detailing Italia's, murder James, complained, about how many rumors, flew around the town Florida. Seems like a gossipy, state yeah, Oh what. Else he gonna do there you're trapped by, swamp. And Gators, yeah, you're essentially just left, to your own devices yeah, why'd you just spread some funny rumors whisper, storm baby, maybe rumors that are rumors like you eating that bird. If. You don't stop this bit I'm gonna you're. Gonna cut my head off with a machete I didn't, say that in testimony. At a dahlias, murder trial though interestingly not, a trial prosecuting, James more on that in a bit James, told the jury that he owned a machete resembling, the one used to kill his wife he, usually kept, it in the trunk of his car using. It to hack at undergrowth, while looking at properties, for his real estate job after, at dahlias murder he turned the machete over, to police at that time, it was common for residents, in the county to own one or two machetes, used, to fight back against, the Florida fauna at the trial James was shown the machete that was used on his wife James. Could not confirm, whether it was his telling, the judge quote all machetes. Look alike to me end quote, I think it's important, to say that because I imagine, people who are watching this they were imagining, Jason Voorhees murdering, this lady yeah but in reality everyone had a machete so it could have been Jim go to church on Sunday, the priest to stand up there with machete he's using it as a pointer yeah using it they're using it throwing holy water. They're. Using it to point out items, on PowerPoint, presentations. Everyone has a machete that makes sense according. To Randall's, book there was a gap of around 15 to 25, minutes in James's, palaboy, it, supposedly, occurred between the time James drove home from the grocery store where he had been shopping with a Dahlia and the time he drove back to his own home Randall. Posits, that James had enough time to drive to Italia's, house during that period. Unfortunate. That if you just have like a 20 minute gap in your schedule where no one's that sees, you, suddenly. You're open to being, a murderer, yeah. That, is true I usually takes me about 20 minutes to cook my dinner usually and because of that I'm a murder you're a murderer the, second, theory is Italia's, neighbor allen Stanford murdered, her in the culmination of a months long feud, according. To the New York Daily News Italia. Loved animals and took many in including. Noisy dogs and even at one point a goat, the, noise from these critters often, disgruntled, her neighbors according. To author Elizabeth, Randall both of Italia's neighbors the Stanford's, and the McCormick's, filed public, complains about the noise in 1972. Resulting. In a $50, fine for disturbing, the peace randall, then describes, an escalating. Neighborly, feud in which italia, outraged, the Stanford's by cutting back their trees that extended, over her property line. According, to Randle Italia, also, planted bamboo across, a city easement, at the corner of the Stanford driveway, which the Stanford's, had the city removed at the, time Stanford, was the manager, of st., Johns County of, which st. Augustine, is the county seat Italia. Had apparently suggested. To the County Commission that, Stanford wasn't. Qualified for, his job appearing. At least four times before the Commission to complain about him that's a strained relationship that. Is yeah. They don't want to be that way to your neighbors, yeah you don't want to have, a little a petting zoo in your, house the thing about cutting down their tree. Her property that's fine so, you would do that legally. You're allowed to manage theirs hangovers, you, can lop those I did have a neighbor who had an overhang, of a lime. Tree it was great because I could go pick a little lime did you ever think about killing your neighbor when he didn't give me limes yeah oh okay all, right, Dahlia. Would claim that Stanford had neglected his duties of maintaining. And building roads, but, her complaints, also, have urged into, the personal, Randle, describes a commission, meeting were at Dahlia publicly, accused Stanford, of putting, sugar in her Cadillacs, gas tank, more, salient Lee she also said, on October, 9th 1974. That, Stanford threatened. Her saying, quote that man threatened, to my life he threatened, to kill me end quote.
Sure. He seems fishy but. It also seems incredibly. Risky to, murder your neighbor especially, after all of this has been public she has in public times, complained that he's not good at his job, yeah every. Human is capable of murder if you push them enough I just don't know if this is enough of a push ok it's, true is that so yeah I, can. I bet, you you would murder me if I pushed you enough yeah probably, according. To Randall mere hours, before a valley is murder Stanford. Had been visited by the Florida Department of, professional. And occupational, regulations at, a dahlias, request Randall. Says they were investigating. To see whether Stanford, was in violation of Florida, state statutes, that's, that's a little fuel to the fire there I don't know if it's enough to push him over the edge it's. Certainly not good it's not good it doesn't look great what I still, wonder but then when people start showing up to, evaluate. You that is true you. Might you might lose, it I guess you can't really like tattle, on her she's. Doing this make her stop yeah, Wenlock, McCormick, first heard a belly ax screams, he, looked to her home and told his grandmother quote, mr., Stanford, is hitting miss ponds all end quote, which was at dahlias maiden, name McCormick. Later explained, that he'd assumed it was Stanford, based on his clothing and the fact that the man was walking back towards Stanford's, house but he didn't see the man's face or really know if it was him the police also noted, a blood trail that cut across her, driveway to a concrete wall that demarcated, the divide between her, property, and Stanford's. Well. That's all not, looking, great that doesn't look good okay, that's a little bit more than hearsay at that point yeah actually. This makes me wonder let's. Say you, want to murder someone, would. It make sense to. Study. Them for a long time you. Know see who's in their life and then. Sort. Of try to disguise, yourself or make it look like you're a different, acquaintance, of theirs so. If I want this lady dead and, I'm she's, got a feud going on with her at the Stanford, right over there he tends to wear these kind of things I'll put those on I'll just I'll put those on dress. Up like him. Wacha. Thwack, run. Through. His yard, yeah, just roll around in the grass yeah his front lawn that blood all around there, of course they're gonna hose it off but it is Florida so you know they're gonna make sure that Bloods really in the grass yeah yeah yeah it's close, to a perfect crime maybe but. It's certainly giving you an edge as a murderer, that is true, the sheriff took McCormack, to a hypnotist. In the hopes of unlocking, further memories, but the results, were inconclusive that.
Sounds About par for the course for investigative. Methods in Florida. What. Do we got how's. The evidence looking well we hosed it all down okay, what, do you want next a hypnotist. Bring, me a metronome. Recall. Dewey Lee had discovered a package, of evidence, including, a bloody shirt and a watch while, the shirt had been sitting in salt water and mud for too long to determine conclusively, if, the blood on the shirt was a Dalia's blood type a forensic. Expert was, able to identify a laundry, mark a Stanford's, name ultimately. However it, was decided that mark was too faint and garbled, to be conclusive, it just seems, like, this, guy murdered. It really does who me is it maybe the fact that the name on the laundry that was found that was bloodied it was his is that is that what it is I just, know none of my laundry's, laying out there. One. I don't have my name on my lawn yeah what is it. Things. Were different I don't know or, he's Andy from Toy Story does, name on everything and. Two I don't, think any articles, of my clothing are covered in blood no. Matter what crime comes up Shane has no bloody clothing and, I don't not, even a nosebleed I was in a church once it happened in a church wall I. Don't. Go to church I was just with one of my friends and he was like he won't go to church and I was like all right man I was like 9 so, you're, telling me at 9 years old you don't go to church the, first time you crossed the threshold into holy ground what. Expels, from your nostrils, yeah. They, ran out of tissues, mopping. That up it. Was wild. That sounds wild more. Damning for Stanford, was the watch which, a jeweler identified, as Stanford's. Stanford. Claimed that after the murder he had discovered his watch was missing Stanford. Was indicted for the murder his, friends and fellow church members, raised, $20,000. For his bail and an estimated, two hundred and fifty thousand dollar Defense Fund which would have the same buying power of more than 1.3, million dollars, today as a, quick sidenote at the time of francis be mrs. murder stanford, was out on bail with, the money raised by his friends, stanford, mounted, a formidable defense. Stanford's, defense posited, that sheriff, Dudley Garrett Dewey Lee and natalia's, husband, James Linsley had all worked together to, frame Stanford, quote, isn't, it strange that all the deputies and trained police officers, didn't know what to look for or where to look for it and without, stopping Lee, went right to the spot walked, up to the bank and there it was I submit.
To You that Dewey Lee put it out there that morning end quote. The defense posited, Dewey Lee as a scammer, while he was on the stand a defense, attorney asked, Dewey quote, isn't it a fact that you were looking for a spot where nobody could see you put that stuff in the swamp end quote. It does seem like they're desperately, grasping, at straws yeah. Because, if you were trying to frame someone you would want it to look that yeah I mean you'd go overboard you probably, you'd probably try a little too hard to make it a little too obvious looking this is confusing, I got a feeling it's gonna end up unsolved, we'll see key, to the defense was the testimony, of one Adele McLaughlin, a data, processing, clerk and neighbor who was riding her bike past at dahlias home at the time, Adele, testified, that she had seen Dewey in a dahlias yard less than two hours before the murder took, place after, two and a half hours of deliberation. On February 3rd. 1975. The, jury declared. Stanford, innocent. Afterward. Sheriff, garrett told reporters quote yes, I think Stanford did it I signed the complaint against, him and I don't concur, with the verdict and quote, there. Is something weird to be said about a. Town. Believing so much that this man did not do it they literally, raised. 250,000. Dollars and only, deliberated in the jury for two and a half hours before saying yeah he didn't do it if I murdered someone in the entire town was like no. He. Didn't. How do you like this is this. Is this rule he earned, enough goodwill tickets, yeah to cash it in for that card. Like I've been a great guy my entire life and then you get that tenth punch and it's like all right here's your freezer Shetty, is, your machete f-1 murdering, you get a free one in, 1974. In a span of less than 10 months two, women were violently, murdered, by hand in the same Florida, community, the person responsible for either or even both deaths, is a mystery, could, it have been a disgruntled husband, a fed-up neighbor a scheming, mechanic, or someone, else entirely. The answer remains, unsolved. I. Think. It was the neighbor look. I'm, a simple man I see, a trail of blood going to someone's house even, if they didn't do it come on you're, going to jail I think, it might have been a random person all right it just seems too obvious okay, there's. A paper trail of their feud why, the hell would he be that dumb rage, you know lust, rage, rage. Just just just building, up. Bursting. Out well I've never really got on that angry I don't really have that capacity it's building its building inside, you everyone, sees it that's. Great, oh man I can't wait for Krakatoa then. I'll. Shudder I hope no one's in the way.