Wake prosecutors delay decision on charges in death of Seanne Barnette

tmcdonald@newsobserver.comOctober 18, 2013 

— The Wake County District Attorney’s Office on Friday delayed a decision on whether to file charges in the death of Seanne Winters Barnette, the 55-year-old woman whose body was found last week in the bedroom of her apartment.

It’s not clear if police plan to charge Barnette’s brother and roommate, John Wesley Winters Jr., with her death. Police next week will transport Winters, 70, from Woodbridge, Va., to Wake County where he will face charges of stealing her car.

Wake County assistant district attorney Howard Cummings said the district attorney’s investigators met with City County Bureau of Identification officers and Knightdale police detectives Friday to review evidence in the case and the status of their investigation. Cummings described the investigation as ongoing.

“We looked at everything that has been covered so far and discussed the leads and avenues that are still open to us,” he said Friday afternoon.

Cummings said district attorney investigators met for about an hour and a half with Knightdale detectives and CCBI officers who collected evidence from Barnette’s apartment and car.

Police found Barnette’s body last Saturday lying face up in her bed. Her body was covered with dried blood and draped with an American flag. Investigators have not disclosed how she died.

Winters was found in Barnette’s Chrysler PT Cruiser parked along Interstate 95 in Virginia two days before police discovered her body. Knightdale Police Chief Jason Godwin said Winters appeared to be disoriented when a state trooper arrived. Winters was first taken to Northern Virginia Medical Center in Woodbridge, Va., before he was charged with the theft of his sister’s car and booked into the Prince William County Adult Detention Center.

Records filed at the Wake County Clerk of Courts Office show that Winters in recent years was frequently evicted from apartments and mobile homes in Wake County. The most recent was Aug. 19 from a mobile home he shared with a woman in the 2800 block of Old Hickory Lane in Raleigh. He was evicted twice in 2009, from an apartment in Cary and a mobile home in Wendell, court records show.

Winters apparently moved in with his sister at the Alta Legacy Oaks apartment complex after the August eviction.

The siblings are the children of John Winters Sr., a real estate and insurance company owner who was the first African-American elected to the Raleigh City Council. He was later elected to the state Senate.

Barnette’s neighbors described her as a good-hearted lady. Those who know Winters said he is a mild-mannered, well-spoken man.

Prior to his sister’s death, Winter’s was best known as a real estate agent and political candidate who unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Congress in 1984.

McDonald: 919-829-4533

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