Real Names: Patrick Grant Hendrickson and Michele Lee Cartagena
Nicknames: Grant (Patrick)
Location: Macon, Georgia
Date: January 3, 1995
Details: On January 3, 1995, the bodies of Mercer University students Grant Hendrickson, twenty-two, and Michele Cartagena, nineteen, were found in her white Honda Accord. They had been brutally shot to death with a Colt AR-15 automatic rifle the night before. Grant had also been shot twice in the head with a nine millimeter Ruger pistol. Michele's body had been pulled from the car and dragged twenty feet. Police and the victims' families could not understand why they had been killed. They had been dating for several months and did well in school. According to friends, they had talked about getting married.
Investigators tried to piece together what happened to Grant and Michele, starting with the night of January 2, when they left to get dinner and see a movie. As they drove to the movie theater, they were seen by a railroad worker named John Ambrose. Michele's car was in the right lane, while he was right next to them. Suddenly, a blue Honda CRX swerved in front of them and started slowing up in front of Michele's car. As a result, she had to do so too. When John exited the interstate, he lost sight of the other two cars.
Grant and Michele later went to the movie theater. Afterwards, they drove to a scenic overlook at nearby Lake Juliet. Coincidentally, John Ambrose was driving near there when he again noticed Grant, Michele, and the CRX. He first noticed the latter, sitting by the road with its parking lights on. Just down the road, he noticed Michele's car heading towards the parking lot at the scenic overlook.
Two other eyewitnesses, teenagers parked at the lake, spotted the CRX pulling into the parking lot at around 12:30am. Just seconds later, they heard the sounds of gunshots nearby. Shortly after that, they saw the CRX drive away from the parking lot. When the couple went to investigate, they found Michele and Grant dead.
At first, the evidence appeared to point to the CRX being the killer's vehicle. Then, a new witness, Steven Boyd, came forward. He was in the parking lot of the movie theater on the night of January 2. He claimed that he saw a young man arguing with Grant and Michele. He appeared to be drinking and was with another man. They then got into a white pickup truck. Investigators had him look at a photo line-up. He identified a friend of Michele's who also had a crush on her. According to him, the man could become violent if he was drunk.
The man denied any involvement in the case and gave investigators an alibi; however, police have not confirmed it. He is still considered a person of interest. Despite this, they have not found a connection between him and the CRX that was seen at the murder scene. This case remains unsolved.
Suspects: The Honda CRX's driver is the prime suspect in this case. John Ambrose believed that he was a light-skinned black male and that he had a female passenger.
Investigators have also looked into a friend of Michele's. He reportedly had a crush on her too. Steven Boyd identified him as the man he had seen arguing with Michele on the night of the murders. He was accompanied by another man in a white pickup truck.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the September 27, 1996 episode. It was also documented on Murder Comes to Town and Unusual Suspects.
Results: Solved. For nearly two years, investigators checked the records of every major pawn shop and gun dealer within 150 miles of Macon. They interviewed every person who had sold or pawned a Colt AR-15. After over 2000 leads, investigators received a break. After following up on pawn shop records, an investigator questioned a twenty-two-year-old man named Andy Cook on November 27, 1996. He acted suspiciously during his interview; he claimed that he had gotten rid of his AR-15 in April 1994. However, the investigator noted that he had not purchased it until August of that year. He became defensive and said that he would not cooperate until he spoke with his father, who was an FBI agent. Investigators decided to look into him more thoroughly.
They discovered that Cook owned a Honda CRX similar to the one described by eyewitnesses. They also learned that an acquaintance had purchased him a nine millimeter Ruger handgun one year before the murders. He was put under surveillance for a week before he was arrested on December 4 on a hunting violation. Afterwards, his father told investigators that he had confessed to the murders; Grant and Michele were apparently random targets. Several friends also stated that he had confessed to killing them with an AR-15. He allegedly told one friend that he killed them to "see if he could get away with it". Ballistic testing determined that slugs from his rifle matched those found at the murder scene. Further testing determined that his Ruger handgun was also used in the murders. Finally, DNA testing connected tobacco spit found on Michele's leg to him. In 1997, he was charged with the murders. In March 1998, he was convicted and sentenced to death. He was executed on February 22, 2013.
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