A horrific murder in January 1987 led the authorities on a years-long investigation ending with the arrests of three young men. But as time progressed, it appeared like insufficient physical evidence was present to prove their guilt, and witness accounts would turn out shaky. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Unusual Suspects: Deadly Intent: Down to the Wire’ delves into Adeline Wilford’s brutal murder and the lengthy inquiry that followed. So, if you’re wondering what happened, we’ve got you covered.
How Did Adeline Wilford Die?
Adeline Virginia Curry was born in September 1922 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and married Jonathan Wilford in 1947. At the time of the incident, she lived in a farmhouse near Easton, Maryland, and appeared to have everything she needed. The mother-of-three was last seen at around 2:10 PM on January 5, 1987, at a local bank’s drive-through. Apart from that, Adeline picked up groceries and went home.
At around 3 PM on the same day, a neighbor found the 64-year-old’s body on the kitchen floor at the farmhouse and called 911. Adeline was located face up, was stabbed to death, and had multiple defensive wounds on her hands and arms. Moreover, a large butcher’s knife was still embedded in her face when the police arrived. It seemed like Adeline had just come home from buying groceries when she was attacked.
Who Killed Adeline Wilford?
It was clear that the motive was robbery, as the house had been ransacked, and Adeline’s purse, pocketbook, and a diamond and sapphire ring were missing. A ground-floor window was propped open, leading to the belief that the killer(s) used that as an entry point. Besides, Adeline’s keys were still in the lock of the back door into the kitchen, so the police felt that she returned while a burglary was in progress and she was killed. Not just that, a witness told the police about seeing an Oldsmobile Cutlass parked in the house’s driveway at around 2 PM that day, yet the police didn’t include the time in their report.
Unfortunately, the investigation didn’t get very far at the time. The authorities collected fingerprints and palm prints from outside the window and a washing machine in the utility room; DNA from underneath Adeline’s fingernails was also collected. Although back then, none of it matched anyone the police looked at. However, in August 1991, a tip brought up Thomas and Ty Brooks as potential suspects. They fit the psychological profile, and both had a criminal history: Thomas had previously been convicted of armed robbery, while Ty was part of multiple burglaries around the time the murder occurred.
About three months before Adeline’s slaying, Ty was convicted of a break-in and assault of an older woman. Apart from that, the two men used drugs and alcohol at the time. However, the police didn’t question Thomas and Ty back then. In January 2000, the authorities spoke to Beverly Haddaway, who had talked to the police back in September 1987 and then in 1994. She claimed to have seen three men near the crime scene at the time of the murder. Beverly said she was driving with someone when she saw her then 17-year-old nephew Jonathan Smith along with a then 22-year-old David Faulkner and Ray Andrews.
Beverly alleged that Jonathan had blood on his shirt and arms; when asked about it, he mentioned a dog attacking him. In April 2000, she agreed to record a conversation with him secretly. When Beverly pressed her nephew about the murder, he admitted to being involved with David and said Ray waited down the road. Furthermore, when asked why Adeline was killed, he said, “I don’t know. I can’t remember.” Later, Jonathan admitted to killing her for money and said the trio had split $60,000 three ways.
The authorities then arrested the three men. When Ray was questioned, he claimed to have walked with the other two to a friend’s house where Jonathan and David talked about “rob or robbing.” He stated the trio went to Adeline’s farmhouse, but he waited outside at the edge of the woods. A few minutes later, Jonathan and David rushed out, and Ray remembered seeing blood on the former’s shirt. When they were at Jonathan’s house later, Ray talked about the other two possessing $300-$400.
As for Jonathan, he initially denied having anything to do with the murder yet later admitted that David stabbed Adeline after she came home while they were in there. However, none of the prints or the DNA from under her fingernails matched any of the three. Despite that, Jonathan, David, and Ray were ordered to stand separate trials for the murder.
Where Are Jonathan Smith, David Faulkner, and Ray Andrews Today?
In February 2001, Ray took an Alford plea to the charge of involuntary manslaughter and received a 10-year sentence. He agreed to testify against the other two. At Jonathan’s trial in February 2001, a jail inmate said he admitted to killing Adeline. Furthermore, Ray’s and Beverly’s testimony meant he was found guilty of burglary and murder. In March 2001, Jonathan was sentenced to life in prison.
In April 2001, David was convicted of the exact charges as Jonathan and received the same sentence. A woman named Susan Fitzhugh testified to being with Beverly that day and remembered seeing blood on him. Albeit, in the following years, the Innocence Project looked into the case. Jonathan had maintained his innocence, saying that he only confessed to the police because they threatened him with lethal injection. He further stated that he admitted to Beverly, a convicted felon, to appear tough.
Later on, recorded conversations between Beverly and the authorities from earlier indicated her threatening to change her testimony if the police didn’t dismiss charges against her grandson. Also, the palm print from the crime scene matched Ty, an early person of interest in the investigation. As a result, in 2020, Jonathan and David’s convictions were overturned.
In February 2021, the authorities decided not to retry David, and charges against him were dismissed a year later when he stayed out of trouble. He lives in Ridgely, Maryland, and is in a loving relationship with a woman named Molly. David enjoys crabs and works for a Maryland packing supply store. As for Jonathan, the prosecutors planned to try him again but eventually agreed to a deal.
Jonathan entered an Alford plea to felony murder and daytime housebreaking, receiving a suspended life sentence and five years of probation. He has since maintained a low profile; he seems to enjoy time with his family and lives in Talbot County, Maryland. Jonathan is prohibited from contacting Adeline’s family and is required to meet his probation officer regularly. As for Ray, he has been released from prison, though it’s unclear what he currently does. His last known location remains to be Maryland.
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