PDT Staff Writer
As part of his Ohio Unsolved Homicides Initiative, Attorney General Mike DeWine is urging those with information on an unsolved double homicide in Pike County to come forward.
Jennifer Burgette and Curtis Francis were murdered nearly six years ago, on Dec. 9, 2006. The bodies of the engaged couple were found in the home they shared at 124 Hopper Road in Piketon. Both victims were asleep when they were shot.
“This is a case where we are certain someone knows exactly who killed these two people,” DeWine said. “Anyone with information should come forward and help authorities take this killer off the streets.”
Francis’ mother, Judy Conley, called her son a very soft-hearted person who was good to everyone.
“Jennifer was like a daughter to me. They had just started making plans for a family.”
Agents with the Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) are assisting the Pike County Sheriff’s Office with the investigation. Authorities said they believe more than one person witnessed the killings and that the person who pulled the trigger likely knew the couple.
“Our detectives worked on this case until they exhausted every single lead, and now BCI agents are looking at the investigation with a fresh set of eyes,” Pike County Sheriff Richard Henderson said. “This case has been open long enough. We need to get this solved and help give the families some closure.”
Conley believes the person responsible was after medication recently prescribed to her son.
“Curtis had recently had shoulder replacement surgery and was taking Percocet,” Conley said. “I always told him he was too trusting, and I think he trusted the wrong person with that information.”
Investigators said they believe it is possible the gunman is also responsible for at least one other homicide.
“We need to stop this killer before he takes even more lives,” DeWine said. “Even the smallest detail of information on this case could be the information that leads to an arrest.”
“Not knowing who killed my son for six years is one of the worst things a mother can go through,” said Conley. “If someone is arrested I think I would finally be able to sleep at night.”
DeWine said anyone with details on the murders of Jennifer Burgette and Curtis Francis should call the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation at 855-BCI-OHIO (855-224-6446) or submit a tip via the Attorney General’s website.
A Portsmouth woman and her boyfriend, both bludgeoned to death in 1970 in Columbus, continues to haunt the Columbus Cold Case files. The bodies of Mary Petry, 20, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Petry of 2201 Scioto Trail, in Portsmouth, and William Sproat, 23, of Havertown, Penn., a graduate student at The Ohio State University, were found in Sproat’s apartment in 1970. That case also remains unsolved.
DeWine’s Ohio Unsolved Homicides Initiative was developed in September of 2012 in an effort to create a statewide database of the approximately 5,000 unsolved killings in the state. As part of the initiative, one cold case is featured each month in a news release and on the Attorney General’s website to help generate tips from across the state.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at email@example.com