COLD CASE REVELATION! Ohio Man Identified as Prime Suspect in 1996 Murders of Lesbian Couple in Virginia Park

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The FBI suspects a then-48-year-old Ohio man, a convicted serial rapist, murdered a lesbian couple at their camping in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park in May 1996.

According to a statement released on June 20, the FBI has identified Walter Leo Jackson, Sr., as the primary suspect in the murders of Laura “Lollie” Winans, 26, and Julianne “Julie” Williams, 24, based on newly analyzed DNA evidence and a thorough review of other evidence surrounding the 28-year-old murder case.

According to the FBI statement, the bodies of the two women were discovered on June 1, 1996, following an extended search by National Park Service rangers after family members reported them missing. “In 2021, a new FBI Richmond investigative team was assigned to conduct a methodic review of the case,” according to the declaration. “FBI special agents, intelligence analysts, and other FBI Richmond employees reassessed hundreds of leads and interviews,” according to the press release. “They spent countless hours to identify and prioritize evidence from the crime scene to retest and submit the items to an accredited private lab.”

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According to the report, the lab successfully extracted DNA from multiple pieces of evidence and established a positive DNA match to Jackson with the assistance of Virginia State Police and the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System.

“Those results confirmed we had the right man and finally could tell the victim’s families we know who is responsible for this heinous crime,” Stanley M. Meador, the FBI Richmond special agent in charge, said in the statement.

“After 28 years, we are now able to say who committed the brutal murders of Lollie Winans and Julie Williams in Shenandoah National Park,” US Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said in a statement. “I want to again extend my condolences to the Winans and Williams families and hope today’s announcement provides some small measure of solace,” he told reporters.

According to the FBI, Jackson, who died in jail in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, in March 2018, had a long criminal history that included kidnapping, rape, and assault. It claims Jackson worked as a home painter and “was an avid hiker and was known to visit Shenandoah National Park.” The FBI has previously concluded that there was insufficient evidence to qualify the two women’s murders as a hate crime in which Jackson targeted the women based on their sexual orientation.

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According to media reports at the time of the murders, Williams was a Minnesota native who moved to Vermont and helped organize an organization supporting LGBTQ individuals through a Presbyterian church ministry. Winans worked as a wilderness guide in Michigan before meeting Williams through the “Woodswomen” outdoor program in Minnesota, according to media sources.

According to a report in the Advocate released before the FBI identified Jackson as the guy responsible for the women’s murders, the two women had been dating for around two years before their deaths. It stated that they intended to move in together that summer to a home in Huntington, Vt., and that Williams had recently accepted a new position as a geologist near Lake Champlain in Vermont.

“The FBI will continue to work with law enforcement partners to determine if Jackson is responsible for other unsolved crimes,” according to a statement issued on June 20. “Anyone with information on Jackson should call 1-800-CALL FBI or submit it online at,” the statement’s conclusion said.

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