Brother: Kannapolis woman murdered for leading police to wanted man

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Beth Feeback
The brother of a Kannapolis murder victim said his sister was killed because she tipped authorities to the location of a wanted man.
John Fischer of Salisbury said his sister, Janet Fink Winecoff, was killed because the suspect, Ernest Lamont Moody of Concord, learned she had divulged his whereabouts to police, who came by her mobile home asking if she knew where he could be found.
Police took Moody, 41, of Carver Ave. S.W., Concord, into custody Friday night, charging him with first-degree murder in Winecoff’s death. Sources say Winecoff was strangled to death.
Fischer said his sister and a man named Axel, who was her on-again/off-again boyfriend, were at her home Friday night when Moody showed up.
“They were kind of split up at the time. They were working on getting back together ó they did that every three or four months,” Fischer said of his sister and Axel.
Moody and Winecoff asked the boyfriend to go to the store, leaving the two of them alone, Fischer said.
Winecoff was not aware that Moody knew she’d turned him in, he added.
“When (the boyfriend) got back, he heard all this hollering inside and he couldn’t get back in, so he called the police and a neighbor also called the police.
“Nobody could get in the trailer, and by the time they did, she had passed.”
Fischer said Moody was in the mobile home until police arrived.
“He couldn’t leave because my brother-in-law and some of the neighbors were standing outside the door.”
Fischer said he refers to his sister’s boyfriend Axel as a brother-in-law because they’d been together for five or six years. He said he doesn’t know the boyfriend’s last name.
He said he got his information from the boyfriend and another close family friend who lives near the crime scene.
Fischer got into a war of words with a discussion board poster on a local TV news Web site Monday as he criticized the Kannapolis Police Department, claiming officers didn’t respond to the scene fast enough. Fischer claimed it took 45 minutes for police to respond after the initial cell phone calls were made regarding the fight inside the mobile home.
The argumentative poster said the police were there in four minutes and also pointed out Janet Winecoff’s past troubles with the law, which included a prison stint on drug charges and resisting arrest.
Kannapolis Police did not return calls for comment Monday afternoon and have not released a statement on the investigation.
John Fischer acknowledged his sister had past run-ins with the law.
“But she was trying to straighten her life out,” he said. “She paid for her crimes. And I don’t care what she did, she didn’t deserve this.”
Jan Fischer, the victim’s mother, said she has not learned anything about the investigation from the police department.
“The police have told me absolutely nothing. They say, ‘We’ll talk to you later. We’ll do this later. We’ll do that later.’ I don’t know jack. The only thing they told me was today they told me I could claim my daughter’s body.”
Fischer will get help from a fund available to help murder victims’ families with funeral expenses. Whitley’s Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
She said she wanted to see her daughter’s remains, but officials discouraged it, saying it would be too upsetting for her to see her daughter until the funeral home prepared the body. As of Monday evening, she still hadn’t seen her daughter.
“They said I would be more upset. But I don’t even know if that’s my child’s body. I need to see her and then I can say, ‘Yes that’s Janet,’ or ‘No, that’s not Janet.’ ”
Fischer said her daughter had planned to come for Thanksgiving dinner with the family, but she accepted another invitation to eat with the family of a close friend.
“Janet loved everybody. She might have been in trouble when she was young for doing drugs, but how do I say it? She was just a typical kid growing up. She was gonna try anything and everything. But when she came home from prison, she tried to get her life turned around.”
Lisa Starnes has lived across the street from Winecoff’s mother in Landis for the past 15 years and is a close family friend. She said Janet Winecoff was “like a sister” to her.
“She would do absolutely anything for anybody. She would absolutely take the shirt off her back and give it to you if you needed it. And for somebody like that scum that did this to her ó he needs to pay big for this.”
The Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office Web site posts a lengthy record of jail time for Moody, including a 2006 prison sentence for being a habitual felon. Charges since then include driving without a license, misdemeanor larceny, providing false information to a police officer and possession of drug paraphernalia.
He had just come out of jail after a three-week stint for possession of drug paraphernalia and two counts of failure to appear in court, one for driving while license revoked and the other for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
Starnes said she hopes the family will see justice carried out.
She said Winecoff had problems in the past, but she was a well-loved person whose troubles were behind her.
“Everybody makes mistakes, and she paid for her mistakes. She was a wonderful woman,” she said. “All I can tell you … is she was the nicest person you could come across.”