June 6, 1993
6:15 PM

The Windsor Be-Lo is closed for the day. Store Manager Bud Cecil locks up the store. As he does, a man—who has been hiding inside the store—confronts cashier Joyce Reason. He is brandishing a .45 caliber handgun and demands to speak with the manager.

The pair find Cecil, and the gunman orders them into the cash office. There, he obtains approximately $3000 in cash and money orders. Once this is done, he orders them to walk to the rear of the store. Along the way, they encounter Jasper Hardy, part of a four-man team waxing the store’s floor.

The gunman—who is aware of the number of people in the store—demands that the remaining workers be brought to join the rest. Once everyone is there, he orders the hostages to bind each other using duct tape and leashes. With this done, he forces them into 3 stacks, one on top of another before saying “I hope God forgives me for what I’m about to do.”

He fires 3 shots, one into each stack, before his gun jams. He then goes to the store’s meat cutting room, retrieves a knife, and approaches Thomas Hardy, asking if he will identify him to the police. The gunman states that he doesn’t believe Thomas and attacks him with the knife.

The gunman turns his attention to Jasper Hardy and repeats the question. Jasper tells him he won’t identify him, and the gunman says he’ll let him live.

He retrieves the cash, along with Cecil’s store keys, and walks out.

6:54 PM

Sylvester Welch manages to free himself from his bonds and drag himself to a phone in the front of the store. He calls 911 and alerts the dispatcher to what occurred.

7:00 PM

Police arrived on the scene, finding employees’ vehicles in the parking lot and the store locked. The truck used by the cleaning crew is backed up to the front door, supplies still sitting on the walkway. Once they gain entrance, they find a grim scene.

Cecil, Rankins, and Reason are pronounced dead at the scene. Thomas Hardy and Sylvester Welch are transported to Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville. Both men survive.

7:15 PM

Witnesses contact Windsor Police with reports of a white sedan speeding out of town on US-17 North. The car is said to have Maryland plates.

June 12, 1993

The Windsor Be-Lo re-opens.

End of July 1993

The Windsor Be-Lo permanently closes.

August 1993

The Windsor town board approves a plan to contract a Texas-based firm, hoping to obtain satellite images of the area from the night of the killings. After an initial scan, it’s determined that no satellites were above the area at the time of the crime.

May 10, 1993

The Be-Lo in Hertford, North Carolina—approx. 30 minutes northeast of Windsor—is robbed in a similar fashion. No one is harmed in this robbery.


The former Be-Lo location in Windsor is purchased by Martin Community College and becomes the school’s Bertie campus.