Obviously, I love this story… but it also helps that I happen to work for the City of Durham
Durham police reopen 30-yr.-old triple homicide case
Aubrey Goss Murdered in Durham, 1976
BY ERIC OLSON : The Herald-Sun
Sep 4, 2004 : 11:08 pm ET
DURHAM — Joanie Inscoe has visited the Durham Police Department’s homicide division every year around the anniversary of her father’s brutal murder on the Bull City’s east side.
Although the murder of Aubrey Linwood Goss and two other men occurred nearly three decades ago, Inscoe says she refuses to give up hope.
“There’s nothing anyone can do to take away the pain and what we have gone through,” Inscoe said last week at her southern Durham home. “But I know justice will be done when they meet their maker.”
This year, Inscoe’s refusal to let her father’s death go unpunished paid off when Sgt. Brett Hallan reassigned the case to Detective J.N. Cates, who is trying to turn back the hands of time and bring closure to Inscoe and her family.
The Herald-Sun is examining the case as part of its Open Files series, which documents unsolved murders in Durham.
Cates shipped evidence from the case to the State Bureau of Investigation and said he was confident Durham’s first-ever triple homicide might be solved.
“Technology has changed and things are available now that weren’t back then,” Cates said Friday. “We’re very optimistic. If and when it’s solved, it’s not a result of one investigator, but all of us. That’s what makes us so effective.”
Goss was 63 years old when he was shot and stabbed repeatedly inside a garage behind 1410 Driver Avenue around 3:30 a.m. on Oct. 7, 1976. Two other men inside the garage also were killed by blows to the head with a blunt instrument, likely a hatchet, authorities have said.
“This was just a Charles Manson-style slaying,” Inscoe said. “They truly had hatred in their hearts. No matter what my Dad did to them, it couldn’t have been that bad to cause them to do this.”
Goss, who lived nearby, sold liquor out of the garage and allowed his customers to hang around drinking and playing cards. Inscoe said the garage was fortified with a steel door on an electric lock that her father only opened to those he knew.
On the morning of the murders, Goss apparently opened the door and the suspects shot him, stabbed him and stabbed and beat his two customers to death, according to autopsy reports. Goss’ brother found him lying face down near the steel door.
Goss suffered eight gunshot wounds to the head, chest and abdomen and three stab wounds to the back, the report states.
Walter Dean, 53, and Nick Williams, also 53, were also found dead. A portion of one of the their scalps was cut off.
“It was brutal,” Cates said simply.
Bullets recovered from Goss’ body came from three different weapons, and Cates said he thought at least three people were involved in the slayings. He said he thought at least two suspects were still around today.
“Robbery wasn’t the motive in this,” Cates said. “His wallet was left behind; he still had his ring on his finger.”
A ring that his granddaughter still wears today.
Though Inscoe was just 22 years old when her father died, she said she still recalls the love he had for her and her family.
“He was a good man. He had a big heart,” Inscoe said. “He didn’t deserve what he got. He deserves closure and our family deserves closure and some peace.”
Goss was married three times and had five children, though one died at an early age in a car accident, Inscoe said.
Though Goss was probably one of Durham’s best-known bootleggers, Inscoe said authorities had told her that they respected him because he had a high respect for the law.
“I’ve never heard anything said about him harming anyone or doing anything to hurt anyone,” she said. “He gave so much of himself financially to anybody and he never expected anything back.”
Dusting off the case and bringing it back to life has already shown promise, Cates said. Investigators who were around at the time have provided Cates with names of people who may know something about the murders.
Cates also is hoping that witnesses who were too scared to come forward back then will have the courage to provide the information necessary to close one of the most vicious murders in Durham’s history.
“It’s a challenge in itself because it’s almost 30 years old. It took a long time to find the paperwork, resubmitting evidence, memories fade and come back and witnesses move away,” Cates said. “So I’m basically starting from scratch all over again.”
Cates asks anyone with information about the murder to call him at 560-4440, ext. 235, or CrimeStoppers at 683-1200. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases. Callers do not have to identify themselves.