U.S. Marshalls are closing the case on one of their most wanted fugitives, Beacher Ferrel Hackney, 61. Hackney was wanted for a 2009 workplace homicide in which he shot two of his bosses, Ronnie Stinnett, 60, and Dwight Kerr, 39, at Bath County Virginia’s posh Homestead Resort. Hackney was reportedly angry at having been assigned the busy dinner shift in the kitchen. After the murders he fled the scene, presumably into the woods, where his extensive experience as an outdoorsman guaranteed that searchers would have a difficult time tracking him down. For three years the small, rural community lived in fear that an armed killer was hiding out in the surrounding woods.
Then on September 2, 2012, two people found a jacket containing a bag of ammunition on private property near the Lower Cascades Golf Course. The site was about eight miles from the scene of the murders, and had not been searched by police at the time of the shootings. According to Bath County Sheriff Robert Plecker, “This was not even an area that was in speculation because it was so far from the hotel.” He continued saying that, “They also found a badly-rusted .380 semi-automatic handgun and a man’s watch on the ground nearby. They then spotted what appeared to be a human skull on the ground about 20 feet away from the jacket.” The items found with the body had investigators thinking that it was Hackney, the gun in particular, because it was the same type as the murder weapon. Continued searching turned up Hackney’s empty wallet and eyeglasses, a significant find. Even so, investigators decided to order DNA testing, which confirmed that the remains were Hackney’s.
All off the personal items and bones were found within 100 yards of each other, but the fact that they were scattered indicates that they have been there for a long time, perhaps even from the day of the murders. There has been speculation that Hackney may have committed suicide, but unfortunately, because the remains have been exposed for so long, establishing cause of death may no longer be possible. As for Hackney’s family and the victims’ families, Plecker said, “They are just glad it’s over with.”