Tag Archives: Florida

“Santa Claus” Brutally Murdered in Polk County FL; Suspect at Large

Ronald Leggett, a Polk County businessman, was found brutally murdered inside his residence in June 2003.

Ronald Leggett, a Polk County businessman, was found brutally murdered inside his residence in June 2003.

 

Ronald Leggett, a 56 yo business owner in the Lakeland (Florida) area, was found murdered inside his residence on Timberidge Drive on June 16, 2003.  After Leggett had not been in contact with anyone for several days, his parents went to his home to check on his welfare and discovered his body upstairs near the couch.   He had been savagely attacked and his injury included both multiple blunt force trauma and stab wounds.
Leggett’s bearded appearance caused him to become known to many area residents and friends as “Santa Claus.”  He was well known in the area and operated a used appliance business as well as owning many rental properties, which would, of course, have placed him in regular contact with many different people.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the case and its detectives have pursued his many business contacts as well as social network contacts in hope of locating suspects.   Leggett had been married five times and police are still investigating a widespread group of contacts, family members, neighbors, and business associates, to gain leads that might lead to an arrest.

 

Police reported nothing was stolen and there was no forced entry.   Both of these things suggest that Leggett knew his killer and probably let him/her into his residence.

 

The viciousness of the attack might suggest that the killer had something personal to settle with Leggett, along with the fact that nothing was missing to suggest that burglary was the motive.

 

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Unit at (863) 298-6379, or send an email to coldcase@polksheriff.org

 

1989 Tuscaloosa AL Double Homicide Tied to FL Double Homicide

I am planning to hit the 50 states and possibly a little more in the next few weeks and months.    This will begin with Alabama and proceed alphabetically unless there is some reason that another case needs to take center stage or have an update.    I will add photos as they become possible.

 

The double murder of Acie and Carolyn Worthy struck me because it appeared to be two nice people minding their own business, active in their communties and their only appeal to a killer maybe being that Mr. Worthy was known to carry large amounts of case.   Their murder was tied to a double murder in Florida earlier in 1989 and two skis masks were found at that scene.   Remember that there may be TWO killers when you are running this through your head to see if you might remember seeing something or hearing something or being the confidante of someone who told you about these homicides.

 

The Worthy Homicides

 

Everyone knows that criminals target vulnerable people who may carry cash money, not thinking of themselves as potential victims and believing they live in safe neighborhoods.

 

Acie and Carolyn Worthy lived one mile off Interstate  59/20 on Alabama Highway 216.  Their local volunteer fire department responded to a report of a house fire at their home on October 16, 1989, at 12:43 a.m.   Anyone who has been to a fire scene knows the destruction caused by the fire and also by the efforts  of the fire fighters to quelch the fire and save any residents.   The fire damage and then the water damage and efforts to breach the house are likely just what the killers had in mind.   Both Acie and Carolyn Worthy’s bodies were found in the home and initial investigation showed that they died, not from the fire or smoke inhalation, but from gunshot wounds.

Mrs. Worthy was choir director and the couple had  aarriveed home from a Sunday night church service.   The house had been intentionally torched, with the reasonable assumption made that the fire was set to cover up evidence of the homicides.   Mr. Worthy was an officer at the local VFW post Bessemer.  He was known to carry large amounts of cash on his person.

 

The possibility that this was not the first time this killer or killers had been operating was revealed when investigators in Alabama were contacted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement about a double homicide in Graceville, Florida in January of the same year.

 

Robert McRae, Sr., and his wife, Katherine, ages 72 and 70, were found murdered in their Graceville, FL, home.   Neighborhood children had gone to their home to visit and found two ski masks lying near the back door.   The frightened children ran to a neighbor who called police and upon entering the McRae home, police found the bodies of the couple.

 

Strangely enough, Mrs. McRae was found thumb-cuffed behind her back.  Both she and her husband had been shot in the head.   When police compared the evidence in both cases, they determined the cases to be linked.

 

The McRae case was nine months prior to the Worthy killings.    Maybe the killer(s) tried to make sure they wouldn’t be leaving any evidence at the Worthy scene.   Remember, there were TWO ski masks found.

 

Anyone with evidence about this case can call the Tuscaloosa Homicide unit at 205-464-8690 or use the Homicide Unit email at Homicide@tuscco.com.