Murder in Little Washington
Could a Vicious Attack and the Murder of a North Carolina Businessman Lead Back to Dungeons & Dragons?
It was 4:24 a.m. on Monday, July 25, 1988 when the call came in to North Carolina’s Beaufort County Law Enforcement Center. It had been a slow night, with dispatcher Michelle Sparrow reading a Stephen King novel throughout much of her 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift. The woman on the other end of the emergency call was speaking so softly that Michelle couldn’t fully understand her. The woman asked for police and an ambulance and when Michelle asked her to speak up, she demurred. She claimed that the intruder could still be in the house. The dispatcher at first wondered if the caller was one of their “regulars,” those few mentally disturbed people who would call emergency services to report terrible, yet false, acts. She asked the woman her name and upon learning it — Bonnie Von Stein — and that the woman, Bonnie, said that she, as well as her husband, might be dying, Michelle Sparrow knew this was no crank call. She advised the officers on duty, as well as rescue, to respond immediately to 110 Lawson Road for the possible beating and stabbing of two people. “Please hurry,” Bonnie Von Stein begged Michelle Sparrow.
The first officers to arrive at the scene, Danny Edwards, Ed Cherry, and Sergeant Bradford Tetterton, approached the two-story house with their weapons unholstered, fearing the intruder Bonnie Von Stein mentioned might still be in the house. The house itself was dark and the men scoped it out with heavy flashlights, noting the enclosed back porch, with the porch door open and the broken window beside it. Edwards and Tetterton entered the home through the open door where, in the kitchen, they found a fluorescent light on over the sink, cabinet doors opened under a microwave oven and a woman’s white handbag on a stovetop with its contents strewn. Edwards immediately detected the coppery scent of blood and mentioned it to Tetterton in a whisper, correctly ascertaining “Somebody’s dead.” The pair made a sweep of the downstairs, finding no one or nothing unusual, and after turning on the hallway light, headed upstairs. There were five closed doors and they took the first one on the right at the top of the stairs, a room that turned out to be the…