Hackney's remains positively identified
HOT SPRINGS – Human remains found Sept. 2 in the woods adjacent to the Lower Cascades golf course were confirmed late Friday by the state medical examiner’s office in Roanoke to be those of Beacher F. Hackney, accused of double murder March 21, 2009.
“To say we are relieved is an understatement,” Bath Sheriff Robert W. Plecker told The Recorder Monday morning. “We were worried it might not be him, or the DNA evidence we collected might not be conclusive. We were sweating it, so to get confirmation was a real big deal.”
Last week, Plecker told The Recorder that the newspaper would be the first to know, once the families of Ronnie Stinnett and Dwight Kerr, as well as Hackney, were told of the news in person. On the night of Saturday, March 21, 2009 Hackney shot and killed Stinnett and Kerr, his supervisors at The Homestead, in the kitchen during the dinner service. He was filmed walking out of the hotel kitchen, reloading his 380 handgun. Despite a massive manhunt involving local and state authorities as well as the US Marshal Service, Hackney disappeared into the night without a trace.
“This is a big relief off us, the county and the families,” he said Monday. “The families were extremely relieved that we now can put a name with the DNA.”
Plecker also told The Recorder about some of the evidence he and other law enforcement officers found in the forest, after being tipped to the grisly remains two Bath men stumbled across while trespassing, hunting for ginseng.
“We did find a 380-calibre handgun, and 60 rounds of ammunition within 10-15 yards of the skull,” he said. “The eyeglasses were in a clip-on case, also about 10 yards from the skull. The jacket and pants were very close, also.”
When asked if the jacket resembled the one Hackney was wearing in the video, he said. “It looks just like it.”
Searchers also found small-sized men’s black work shoes, and a pen-light. But, the most exciting piece of evidence, by far, was a wallet containing Hackney’s driver’s license and Homestead ID card.
“The ironic thing, to me, is this,” Plecker said. “The wallet was empty. There was no money; no money for drinks, no money for a taxi ride. In my opinion, if you have no money, or means of getting where you are trying to get to, it tells me he already knew what he was going to do.”
The medical examiner has not yet determined the cause or time of death, Plecker noted. The sheriff said he planned to call a press conference late Tuesday or Wednesday to announce the news of confirmation of the remains. “But I wanted to talk to The Recorder first,” he added. “The people of Bath County deserve to know before everyone else.”