On August 9, 1977, at 7:45 am the Major Crimes Unit of the King County Police Department received a call. It was from the manager of South Park Marina regarding a murdered female body found there. The location was a small boat marina located in a zoned industrial area. The area was surrounded by an 8-foot high fence and was just one block from the Seattle city limits. When investigators arrived they saw the destroyed body of a young woman. This woman was the victim of serial killer Morris Frampton.
A Witness Hears Screams
Sharon Adams, who lived in a trailer 50 feet from the entrance of the marina, witnessed part of the crime. On the night of the murder, Sharon was at home alone sleeping. Her husband worked the night shift at Boeing so he was gone. Around 3:05 am Sharon was awakened by noises and the sound of a car idling. Then the idling stopped. A few minutes later she heard what sounded like something metal being kicked. Then she heard what she thought was a child crying. After a few seconds, she realized it was a woman moaning and sobbing, not a child.
When detectives interviewed her, she told them she thought she heard the sounds of bodies slapping. The rhythmic pattern reminded her of sex. Sharon became so freaked out that she changed out of her pajamas and put on clothes. Because she didn’t have a phone, she planned on dashing to her car and driving to the police department. During this time, she heard the same female voice say “don’t, I’m already dead.” Then there was a brief silence followed by two doors slamming and the car driving away. Sharon ended up going back to sleep.
The Crime Scene
The police investigated the scene. The nude female body was laying on her back with her legs spread. She laid about 30 feet from the gate on top of a sand pile. A black piece of elastic was tied multiple times around her neck. Her body showed clear signs of torture. There was severe bruising of her inner thighs caused by being repeatedly hit with a blunt force object. Her left arm was broken and in the shape of an S. This unknown woman had been repeatedly beaten over the back of the head and a linear indentation was visible. Later, investigators were able to match the mark on her skull with a piece of rebar located 15 feet from her body.
What is Rebar?
Rebar is a steel bar that is used in cement and other structures to strengthen the concrete. The rebar was 5/8 of an inch wide and two feet long. The rebar near the victim’s body was wedged inside a pipe so that the entire weapon was over 4 feet long.
The Locard’s Exchange Principal
In forensics, there is a term known as the Locard’s Exchange Principle of Countertransference. This is a term used to describe the transfer of evidence between people. According to Locard’s Exchange Principle, the killer would have gotten the victim’s blood and hair on him. In addition, sand from the sandbar nearby would have transferred to him. The medical examiner found 81 different injuries to the victim’s body. Most of them were repeated blows with the rebar. In addition, she had been violently raped with the rebar.
At the crime scene, there were tire tracks and pieces of yellow spongy cushion material. Fresh green paint was found on the marina’s gatepost from the killer hitting it on his way out. In addition, the post was missing paint so the killer’s car. This meant the killer’s car would have gray and blue paint on it from the transference.
The Woman in the Trunk
It didn’t take long for investigators to figure out the name of the victim. The previous shift investigators had a made “found property” report. A purse had was found in the International District, an area where prostitutes were known to walk the streets. Someone had called the police anonymously at around 3:00 am to report a woman being beaten by a very large man. This woman was then thrown into the trunk of the man’s car.
After the call, the police were immediately dispatched to the scene but the only thing that remained was the purse. Inside the purse was the identification for Rosemary Stuart, (aka Rosemary Park). Rosemary was Caucasian, stood 5’4, and weighed 104 lbs. She had been arrested multiple times for prostitution.
The medical examiner was able to match the fingerprints from Rosemary’s arrests to the dead body at the South Park Marina. Sadly, Rosemary was the mother of a little girl. When Rosemary didn’t return to pick her daughter up from the babysitter on the night she was murdered, her daughter was turned into Child Protective Services.
Investigators were stunned by the brutality of the crime. When one of the King County investigators spoke with a Seattle Police officer, he discovered that the South Park Marina crime scene was similar to another murder scene. This murder occurred two weeks prior to Rosemary’s murder.
Another Victim of Morris Frampton
On July 30, 1977, Iantha Buchanan Peters murdered body was found around 3:00 am. She was killed five miles from where Rosemary was murdered. Iantha’s body was found laying on the ground with her legs spread apart in an office building under construction. Her body was placed in a corner of a cement block building. In addition, her killer positioned her legs in a V shape with each foot resting upward on the wall. They were spread apart and raised 23 inches above the floor, leaving her pubic region exposed. Unlike Rosemary, Iantha was African-American. Her face was beaten so badly that her bones were crushed, and she was unrecognizable.
Furthermore, her neck and chest had broken bones. Her pantyhose was still on her left leg, rolled slightly down and her underwear was inside them. She was wearing a red skirt which was lifted up covering most of her destroyed face. The red shirt she was ripped in half, exposing her breast. Next to her lay her bra. There were bloody drags mark on the concrete indicating that the killer dragged the victim from the front of the building to the back.
A purse located near the body held the identification for 27-year-old Iantha. Through interviews, police learned that Iantha lived with her boyfriend Marcus Jackson. Marcus wasn’t just her boyfriend, he was also her pimp.
According to Marcus, he last saw Iantha alive around 9:45 pm. The two left the apartment they shared so Iantha could make some money on the streets. Usually, Marcus and Iantha would rent two “trick” rooms at a cheap motel called The Moore Hotel. First, Marcus would negotiate a price for Iantha’s services. Next, the john would meet her by the motel elevator and Iantha would take him to a room. Usually, Iantha wouldn’t have sex in a john’s car. But for some reason that night she changed her usual routine. Later, Marcus saw her walking the streets, and then she disappeared. Her body was found dead hours later.
It was very apparent to the investigators that the killer wanted these women to be found. Also, he desired to humiliate them in death but posing them in a shocking manner. Upon further investigation, officers discovered that three other prostitutes had been severely beaten in a similar fashion as Rosemary and Iantha. The attacker in those cases drove a red pickup truck.
Another Witness Comes Forward
Once the news of the two connected murders hit Seattle, leads came pouring in. A service station attended called the police to report a strange occurrence. He told them a white male came in covered with blood, though he didn’t appear to be injured. He was described as 6’ 3” inches tall with blood dripping from his face, hands, and clothes.
While there, the man used the bathroom. He brought his green 1969 Dodge Charger to the station for some services. Three of the Dodge Charger’s taillights were broken from the inside of its trunk. The attendant noticed beer bottles littered throughout the car. In addition, it idled loud because it needed a tune-up. In the trunk of the vehicle was a ripped pillow containing yellow foam stuffing. When the police came to the service station, they found trace remains of Rosemary’s blood and hair in the bathroom.
Finding Morris Frampton
An all-points bulletin was released for the 1969 green Dodge Charger. Five days after Rosemary’s death, two plainclothes police officers found the car they were looking for. They followed the car and when it failed to use its turn signal, they had it pull into a parking lot. It was followed by a rust-colored pickup truck. This truck matched the description of the one in the beatings of the prostitute. When the officers looked inside the Charger, they noticed dried blood on the passenger seat. In addition, the fender had gray and blue transfer paint from the South Park Marina fence on it. In the bed of the pickup truck were pieces of rebar.
The driver of the truck, Morris Frampton, explained to the officer that he was the owner of the vehicles. His Charger had a flat tire so a friend drove his pick-up behind him as Morris went to get the Charger fixed. On the front bumper of the car, near the headlight was a handprint with a mixture of blood and sand. Rosemary’s hair was embedded near the fender. On the inside lid of the trunk was smeared blood and some of Rosemary’s hair. Fingerprints of Rosemary’s were found in the smeared blood. Even more disturbing was what investigators found on the undercarriage of the car. During her assault Rosemary crawled under the car, leaving bloodstains there.
In 1978, Morris was tried for the murder of Rosemary Stuart and sentenced to death via hanging. This was overturned on appeal and he was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison. He was also tried and found guilty of the brutal assaults on the two other prostitutes. In addition, he was tried but acquitted of Ianthan’s murder. Although he was found not guilty, police and prosecutors have no doubt he killed her.
Morris Frampton Found Guilty of Another Murder
In the early 2000s, King County formed a cold case squad to investigate its over 500 unsolved murders. In 2005 they entered semen found on the murdered body of Agnes Myra Williams into a database for convicted felons. They got a hit.
The DNA matched Morris Frampton. Agnes Williams was 48 years old when she was found beaten and strangled to death in a ravine in West Seattle on October 19th, 1976. This was almost a year prior to the deaths of Iantha and Rosemary. Unlike Iantha and Rosemary, Agnes wasn’t a prostitute. Police interviewed Morris in Walla Walla prison and after 30 years, he confessed to murdering Rosemary but denied killing Agnes and Iantha. In 2006, he was found guilty of 2nd-degree murder for Agnes murder and was sentenced to 17 years in prison. He is currently housed at the Stanford Creek Correctional Center and is eligible for parole in 2028.
The media in Columbus, Georgia gave the name “The Stocking Strangler” to a serial killer in the area that preyed on elderly white women in 1978. In April of that year, a local newspaper and the police began receiving letters from an alleged vigilante group calling themselves “The Forces of Evil.” This group warned that if the Stocking Strangler didn’t stop killing caucasian “grannies” the Forces of Evil would begin killing African-American women. Within a few days, the brutal body of their first victim was discovered.
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