Suspect in 2001 murder appears in court

The body of 91-year-old Beulah Dickerson was found inside her Raleigh home in 2001.
October 24, 2013 3:24:45 PM PDT
A woman charged with murder in the death of a 91-year-old woman is now back in Raleigh and faced a judge Thursday.

Police say 53-year-old Cathy Lentini killed a neighbor 12 years ago.

Lentini's public defender says he has yet to interview her and speak at length about the case.

"Right now, she's still very tired," said Lentini's attorney Charles Caldwell. "She was just arrested in Georgia and drove back here. So she's simply concerned at this time."

Lentini was unemployed living in Georgia, but police here say, back in 2001, she was Cathy Piper. She was unmarried and living next to Beaulah Dickerson.

Dickerson was found beaten to death in her home in the 100 block of Pineland Circle. Neighbors told ABC11 that Dickerson was hit with a tire iron that uniquely fit Lentini's Buick Riviera.

? Click here for a Google map of the area. ?

Caldwell said there are challenges ahead in a murder case dating back to 2001.

"In a matter like this, there would be obviously witnesses or relative parties that may be hard to come across, hard to find," he said. "Right now, we haven't received any discovery and information on it."

Fear and whispered rumors hung over the community for years about why and who killed Dickerson. Some believed a transient from the State Fair might have been responsible because of the fairground's proximity to the neighborhood.

Dickerson's home no longer sits on the property, but one of her former neighbors who's still there told ABC11 that she was a spry and sweet woman who would always lock her door even to check her mail.

Investigators haven't revealed a motive, or say what exactly led to the murder charge against Lentini, but they attribute fresh sets of eyes overseeing the case and continuous probing.

One neighbor called the development so far a closure for Dickerson's family.

Lentini is being held at the Wake County Jail without bond.

She has another court appearance next month.

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