Charlotte Observer, The (NC)
March 15, 1994
WALLACE IS CHARGED WITH MURDERING THESE WOMEN
Staff Writers, ANN DOSS HELMS, DIANE SUCHETKA, KAREN GARLOCH and RICKI MORELL
May 27, 1992
Sharon Lavette Nance
When Sharon Nance left her aunt's house in May 1992, she wore a black dress and talked about going out with friends.
When she didn't return and didn't call, aunt Linda Nance knew something was wrong. But it wasn't until a week later, when TV reports showed police finding a woman's body in a black dress, that the family knew how bad it was.
She had been beaten and left beside Rozzelle's Ferry Road.
For almost two years the Nance family struggled with a mysterious, violent end to a troubled life. This week police said Nance was a victim of Henry Louis Wallace.
Her family knew her as a sweet woman who drew, wrote poetry and loved her son.
``Whatever she could do for somebody, she would do it,'' said Linda Nance.
Relatives say she fell in with a bad crowd, started using drugs and got into trouble. Police records show she faced 61 charges between 1975 and 1992, including minor traffic offenses, assault, drug and weapon charges. She had recently been released from prison before she died, police said.
On Monday, the family was glad the killer had been caught, puzzled about how Nance encountered Wallace, and angry that her legal troubles were being dredged up.
``Regardless of what she had ever done, she was the best person I ever knew,'' said sister Doris Nance.
June 15, 1992
Whenever Bojangles' manager Terry Bizakis was working the night shift, he'd try to schedule Caroline Love to work, too.
``She did her job - never gave me any problems,'' says Bizakis, now an area manager for the fast-food chain. ``She could stretch out and pick up a little extra and never really complain about it.''
Love was hired as a cashier at the Central Avenue Bojangles' in September 1989 and worked there until June 15, 1992. She finished her shift that day and, just after midnight, began walking home to her Darby Terrace apartment on Central Avenue, six blocks away.
Her sister, Kathy Love, who also worked for Bojangles', reported her missing the following day.
In her quiet way, Love was a character, says Bizakis. She'd stroll into work every day with her headset playing her favorite rap music. ``And there was no way you were going to get her into that restaurant on her day off. You had to get her before her hair appointment,'' says Bizakis. ``She'd spend four or five hours getting it done and you never knew what to expect.''
What Bizakis liked about her best, he says, was that she was always on time, even though she was going to school, too.
``She had good work ethics. Everybody liked her.''
''Caroline was a real sweet kid. A steady, all-around good person and employee.''
Shawna D. Hawk
Found: Feb 19, 1993
On the way to the Junior Prom, Shawna Hawk's date told her she didn't need the fake fingernails. So, all dressed up in the fanciest clothes she'd ever worn, Hawk peeled off the nails and tossed them out the window of her date's Mercedes and onto Independence Boulevard.
``That was the epitome of Shawna,'' says her mother, Dee Sumpter. ``She was herself. Unpretentious.''
Sumpter found her daughter strangled, in a bathtub full of water at their home on Elon Street more than a year ago. Hawk was working at the Taco Bell at 3612 N. Sharon Amity Rd. She had been hired by Henry Louis Wallace, who police charged with murdering her and nine other women.
Hawk also was a student at Central Piedmont Community College, studying to become a paralegal.
She had worked part-time to help pay the family bills from the time she was 14, lying about her age to get a hired at McDonald's.
``This kid would bring her entire check to me and say, Mommy, here it is for meals.' The entire check - from the time she was 15,'' says Sumpter.
She graduated from East Mecklenburg High School in 1991 where she was just a shy, unassuming student, who wasn't involved in student activities, her mother says.
``She was just a basic, everyday good kid.''
June 25, 1993
Audrey Ann Spain
Audrey Spain grew up in a tiny coastal town in South Carolina, and her parents hated seeing her move to the big city.
But Spain hoped to find a job working with computers in Charlotte. She came here from Bayboro, S.C., about three years ago.
Her career plan fizzled, and she ended up working at Taco Bell restaurants. There she fell in with a group of young singles who shot baskets, cooked out and went to comedy clubs together.
One of them was Henry Wallace. Another was Shawna Hawk.
Police say Wallace strangled Hawk in February 1993, and Spain four months later.
Spain was the youngest daughter of six children. Her parents, Broughton and Mae Helen Spain of Bayboro, called her ``Baby'' and remember her as a friendly youth who knew no strangers.
Charlotte co-workers say the same.
``She always liked to make you smile and laugh,'' said Stephanie Cook, who worked with Spain at the Sharon Amity Taco Bell, where Spain was a shift manager.
Cook got the news of her death from Wallace.
``Guess what?'' she remembers him saying. ``You aren't going to believe this. Audrey's dead.''
Spain's parents took her body home to South Carolina. Her friends never heard about her funeral.
Valencia M. Jumper
Found: Aug. 10, 1993
Burned and strangled
Vanesa Jumper never believed that her younger sister, Valencia, would have failed to turn off the stove before falling asleep.
But law enforcement officials told Valencia Jumper's family last summer that she died of smoke inhalation during a fire in her home at Greenbryre Apartments, off Sharon Amity Road.
Sunday, Vanesa Jumper found out she was right. Valencia was one of 10 victims police say were killed by Henry Louis Wallace.
``Grieving is bad enough. Now seven months later, it's hitting just as hard as when they called the first time,'' Vanesa Jumper said Monday from her home in Columbia. ``I know my sister. I know how we were raised. The last thing you do at night is you check your door and you check your stove.''
The weekend before Valencia's death, Vanesa had been visiting. ``She cooked dinner and she unplugged everything. I know she was careful.''
Valencia Jumper grew up in Columbia, the youngest of five children. She was a senior at Johnson C. Smith University, majoring in computer science. She was a good student, and worked two jobs, as a cashier at the Food Lion on Central Avenue and as a sales associate at Hecht's.
Vanesa Jumper said she became very good friends with Wallace's sister when they attended Winthrop University in Rock Hill. She said Wallace introduced himself to Valencia Jumper in 1990 when he was a customer at the Food Lion.
September 15, 1993
Michelle Denise Stinson
Michelle Stinson was aiming for a career as a graphic artist, and doing well in classes at Central Piedmont Community College when she was found dead inside her Grier Heights apartment last fall.
Frank Granger, her graphic arts instructor, said she once chose to do a project about managing stress and raising two children.
Until then, he hadn't understood why she would sometimes fall asleep in his class.
After that, he admired her courage and determination.
Stinson was making A's and B's in courses like desktop publishing, printing management, sculpture and water color.
Then, a friend found her dead, facedown on the kitchen floor. Police said her two small sons, Ernee, 3, and Nashon, 1, were present when their mother was slain, stabbed to death.
When the friend knocked, Ernee answered. ``My mommy's asleep on the floor,'' he said.
Henry Wallace has been charged with killing Stinson and nine other women. All the victims were black women. Many of them knew Wallace from their apartment complexes or their jobs in fast food restaurants.
Police said, at the time of her death, that there was no sign of a struggle or forced entry, and the apartment did not appear to have been burglarized.
Feb. 20, 1994
Vanessa Little Mack
Friends say Vanessa Mack had a troubled childhood.
And sometimes, she lost patience with her own two children. But she was trying to do better, said Barbara Rippy, who found Mack strangled with a towel in her home off Wilkinson Boulevard.
Rippy, whose son is the father of Mack's older daughter, Natara, 7, had come to Mack's home to babysit for her baby, Natalia Little, now 5 months old.
Rippy raised Natara until she was 4-1/2. Then, when Mack won custody of Natara, Rippy moved from Florida to Charlotte.
``I was a mother to her . . . I used to tell her to watch who she associated with,'' said Rippy. ``We had our times, I'll tell you that. . . . ``
After Mack died, Rippy said Mack's colleagues at Carolinas Medical Center told her Mack had often talked about how much Rippy had helped her. ``I used to think she hated me. . . . But after she passed, I felt real good that she really appreciated me. . . . ``
Mack's sister, Leslie Little, had introduced Mack to Wallace in July 1993. Little and Wallace worked together at the Taco Bell on Sharon Amity Road.
Eunice Stradford, Mack's friend and supervisor, said Mack always showed concern toward patients.
When one woman died a year ago, Stradford said Mack was especially saddened. She said: ``Everybody I get close to, they die, Miss Eunice.''
Brandi J. Henderson
Found: March 9, 1994
Brandi June Henderson loved being a mother. At 18, she had set up house in a quiet apartment off Albemarle Road with her boyfriend and her 10-month-old son, Tareese Woods.
``She was my Brandi, my little cuddly Brandi,'' recalled her aunt, Dorothy Nance. ``She was just a happy person, and she wanted me to be happy too.''
Henderson's early life wasn't always easy. Her parents separated when she was 2, and she spent much of her childhood moving from house to house. Her aunt, Gale Burrell, said Henderson spent more time with her father than her mother.
Lloyd Burris, who ran the children's church at Gloryland Baptist Church, remembers her as a young teenager.
``She was one of the sweetest kids I ever had in my program,'' he said. ``The main thing I remember about her is she hunted me up the second she hit that church.''
Henderson dropped out of high school but then went back to Harding High to try to get her diploma. She also studied at Central Piedmont Community College.
``I remember her being real sweet as she can be,'' said Jo Henderson, Brandi's cousin. ``And I remember her with a bookbag on her back, going up to Harding High School.''
Found: March 10, 1994
Ten minutes into his interview with Betty Jean Baucum, Phil Locke knew she was the kind of person he wanted working as a manager at the Bojangles' he ran on Central Avenue.
``She had a lot of good qualities,'' Locke said Monday.
``She was a very nice young lady, a hard worker, dependable. She just had a beautiful smile. And I never heard her use one word of profanity, even if she got burned or something.''
Locke hired Baucum on Sept. 20, 1993, as a management trainee. She became a co-manager at the store in November.
A staff member at The Lake apartments on Albemarle Road found Baucum's body in her apartment Thursday morning after her family called, worried that they hadn't heard from her. Police said she had been strangled and dead for at least a day. Her car, believed to have been stolen, was found in a shopping center across the street from her apartment.
Baucum was originally from Laurel Hill. Locke said she had recently asked about transferring to a new Bojangles' in Sanford, so she could be closer to her fiance. They hadn't talked about her plans in any detail, though.
``She was fair and consistent in the way she handled people,'' Locke said. ``She was somebody who was a joy to be around,'' Locke said.
Debra Ann Slaughter
Found: March 12, 1994
When Debra Slaughter's mother unlocked her door and saw Slaughter lying on the floor, she didn't panic.
Slaughter had been suffering back pain and had an appointment with a chiropractor that day. Her mom assumed she'd stretched out to ease her back.
But she was dead, a victim of killer Henry Louis Wallace, police said.
Slaughter, a deli worker at the Morrocroft Harris Teeter, was the oldest of four children. Her family remembers her infectious laugh and beautiful voice singing in church choir.
``We used to sit around and tell childhood stories and she would make us laugh,'' recalls sister Linda Ball. ``She was sort of a comedian.''
Slaughter, who had an 18-year-old son living in Atlanta, moved into Glen Hollow apartments with her parents last year. They recently moved, leaving Slaughter alone.
Police believe she, like most of the other victims, knew Wallace and let him in. The family doesn't recall hearing about him, but Slaughter may have met him while working at Bojangles' on Central Avenue. Wallace worked at several east Charlotte fast-food restaurants and met many of the victims there.
Ball remembers her sister as a tall, strong woman. She wants to know more about the attack. ``I want to know if she was fighting him,'' Ball said.
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