Monday, June 12, 2017

The Belle from Hell

-It was a picturesque day in the happy town of Longdale, South Carolina. It was a town near the beach, and short on crime. That was all about to change in the sleepy little town of Longdale, population 1,000.
Jake Lipton was a former Airman in the United States Air Force. He retired after serving nearly 20 years and two tours overseas. He was the least likely target for a vicious murder.
Linda Bowers was your typical Southern Belle and an implant from the large city of Columbia, South Carolina. When she visited family in the small town of Longdale one summer night, she met Jake Lipton at a bar and the two hit it off. So much so, 3 months later, they were engaged.
Linda Bowers was only 24 years old, Jake Lipton nearly 20 years her senior. Despite the age difference, the two really connected. Linda was a beautiful brunette with long hair, green eyes, and the figure of a model. She immediately caught Jake’s eye when they were introduced at the bar.
Linda and Jake enjoyed the nightlife, and would spend time together cruising down the beach’s strip, where Jake was known to spoil Linda with jewelry and clothes. On one special day before their engagement, Jake even bought Linda the car of her dreams. It was a black Chevy Corvette.
Linda grew up in the city of Columbia, and by the age of 22, she had her own apartment, and a job as a secretary. There was a secret side of her, however, and Jake would find out the hard way.
Jake spent most of his adulthood in the Air Force, and when he retired from the service, he started his own business as a mechanic. Jake was born and raised in the town of Longdale, and everyone there knew him. Anyone who ever knew Jake always had nice things to say about him.
That’s why it was such a surprise when he was murdered in cold blood. Jake was a big and burly guy, and the identity of the murderer would take the sleepy little town of Longdale by surprise.
3 months after their engagement, Jake and Linda eloped. Things seemed to be happy at first, but Jake was learning a whole new side of Linda; her true side. After a year of marriage, the once happy marriage was hitting a new low. Jake learned over the span of a year just how controlling and maniacal his new wife was. She refused to let Jake even talk to his family, let alone his friends. Jake’s family was eventually out of the picture completely, and Linda was now the sole focus in his life.
Jake also found out something else he didn’t like about Linda. She was an alcoholic, and used alcohol to self-medicate. Linda Bowers was diagnosed as bipolar when she was 16, and she spent nearly 2 years in the mental hospital. She kept this a secret from Jake, till he found out for himself just what was wrong with his wife.
After finding out that Linda kept this a secret from him, Jake threatened to leave her. That was until she unleashed a bombshell. Linda was pregnant with a boy. Jake decided against leaving Linda to be there for their kid. Linda already threatened that if he left Linda, he would never see his son. Faced with that ultimatum, Jake decided to work things out. This would later turn out to be his doom.
In truth, there was no evidence that Linda was even pregnant. It was confirmed later on to be a boldface lie. When Jake found out that Linda wasn’t pregnant, he angrily stormed out of their 2 story house and never returned. This wouldn’t be the last he saw of Linda, however.
Linda began to call Jake on his cell phone night and day, begging that he would take her back. She even promised to change. Jake, out of the goodness of his heart, decided to give it another try. Linda however, had other plans. Due to Jake leaving her, she felt betrayed. She no longer had feelings for Jake and was seeing someone else. The last straw in Linda’s madness was the discovery of a 100,000 dollar life insurance policy in Jake’s name. Revenge would be sweet, and so would the money.
On June 3rd, 2011, Linda put her maniacal plan into action. As Jake was in bed, sleeping opposite Linda facing away from her, Linda grabbed a pistol from her dresser and shot him in the back of the head. She immediately called the police after the murder and sounded distraught on the phone as she told her version of what happened the night of Jake’s murder.
Linda was brought in later for questioning, and she mentioned the two got into a heated argument when Jake started hitting her. She showed the officers the bruises she had on her arms to corroborate her story. She said that Jake threatened to kill her and she shot him in self defense. The gunpowder residue on her arm proved that it was her that fired the gun.
There were major problems in Linda’s story, however. If the murder was in self defense, why was Jake shot in the back of the head execution style while he slept? Also, the bruises she showed on her arms could have been self-inflicted and Jake had no history of past violence. In fact, his family said he would never hit a woman, especially one he loved.
Another damning piece to the puzzle was the life insurance policy of 100,000 dollars showed a possible motive. Also, the officers discovered that Linda was having an affair and promised the boyfriend half of the money when he testified against her in court. The cops had the murder weapon, a possible motive, proof that Linda was the one that fired the murder weapon, proof of an affair and plan to share the money with her boyfriend, and the authorities had enough evidence to build their case against Linda.
The authorities charged Linda with the murder of her husband and the case went to trial. The defense presented an insanity plea, due to Linda’s past mental health history. It was known that Linda was bipolar and that she spent 2 years of her life in the state hospital. The prosecution didn’t buy that plea for a second and neither did the judge or jury.
The prosecution had overwhelming evidence against Linda, and their star witness was her lover Rick Wilson, who testified that Linda talked to him about killing her husband and splitting the money with him. This proved without the shadow of a doubt that the murder was premeditated, and Linda’s insanity plea was shattered before her very eyes.
On trial, Linda was only a fraction of her former beauty. The stress from the case took its toll on Linda and she didn’t even look like the same woman Longdale once admired. The jury reached a verdict. They found Linda guilty of First Degree Murder and sentenced her to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The nightmare was finally over. Longdale could now rest easy as the Belle from Hell was behind bars for the rest of her life. Jake was laid to rest in Longdale Cemetery as his family continues to grieve their loss. Thankfully, however, justice was served…

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