COPY-Service to be held today for murdered Conover couple

By WBTV Staff & Tom Roussey - bio l email

ROWAN COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A service honoring the lives of a Catawba County couple who was murdered last week in Rowan County while trying to sell their car will be held Tuesday afternoon in the community where they lived.

Jerry Wayne Bullin, 72, and his wife, Jo Anne "Jody" Adkins Bullin, 70, were found dead inside Ingram Motorsports at 350 Auction Drive just before 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 2nd.

A service celebrating their lives will be held Tuesday, June 8, at 4 p.m. at the Rock Barn Golf and Spa, 3779 Golf Road in Conover.

Last week, Fredrick Sinclair Hedgepeth, 25, was charged with two counts of murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, felony conspiracy and larceny of a motor vehicle.  He is being held in the Rowan County Detention Center without bond.

Friday evening, the sheriff's office also charged Hedgepeth's 20-year-old girlfriend, Alyssa Carolina Watts.  She was charged with two counts of felony accessory to murder after the fact and is being held in the Rowan County Detention Center under a $100,000 secured bond.

The Bullins, who were long-time residents of Conover and lived in the Rock Barn Golf and Spa community in Conover, drove to Rowan County Wednesday evening with the intention of selling their 2009 Honda Accord.

The car had been advertised for sale in the Hickory Daily Record.  The sheriff's office says Hedgepeth made contact with the Bullins by phone in response to the car for sale advertisement.

According to the sheriff's office, the Bullins met Hedgepeth at Auction Drive just after 4 p.m.  Jody Bullin made at least one phone call to her daughter to tell her where they were and "that something did not seem right," the sheriff's office said.

After receiving her mother's phone call, the daughter made several attempts to call her parents back, but she was unable to reach them.  The daughter then called the sheriff's office and reported that her parents might be in some type of trouble at the Auction Drive address.

When deputies arrived, they found the business locked-up.  While looking in a window, they part of a body which prompted them to forced entry into the building.  The sheriff's office said the business was locked in such a manner that it would have someone with a key to have locked the door.

Another car which belonged to the Bullins was inside the business.  The sheriff's office said there were signs of a struggle and that the back window of the vehicle was damaged by gunfire.

The sheriff's office contacted the owner of the business who said Hedgepeth worked for him as a "caretaker" of the facility.

The sheriff's office said Hedgepeth reported being a victim of a robbery at the business on May 25th.  At that time, he told sheriff's deputies that he lived at the business.

During the course of their investigation into the murders, the victims' daughter said the Bullins had driven two vehicles to the auto shop and that a black male led her parents to believe he planned to purchase the Honda Accord for $17,000.

The sheriff's office said at some point, Hedgepeth had a handgun and murdered the couple. They also said he attempted to clean up the crime scene and locked up the business.  Hedgepeth left in the victim's 2009 Honda Accord, the sheriff's office said.

The Rowan County Sheriff's Office contacted surrounding agencies to be on the look out for the stolen car.  Detectives learned that Hedgepeth's girlfriend, Alyssa Watts, lived in northeast Charlotte on Campus Walk Lane.

They also learned that Hedgepeth was wanted by several agencies in three counties for fraud.

Rowan detectives contacted police in Charlotte to search the area near Watt's home and they located the Honda Accord in which the Bullins were trying to sell.  Detectives also found items of evidence that linked Hedgepeth to the crime scene, the sheriff's office said.

Relatives of the Bullins spoke publicly for the first time on Saturday about the murders.  They said they want to remain strong as a family.

"We are still a great big loving family, and nothing will separate us from the love of God or each other," said Catherine Thompson, who was Jody Bullin's sister.  "Not this man, not this thing that happened."

"We trust God," said Jerri-Anne Bullin-McDermith, the daughter of the victims.  "That hasn't been taken away from us."

At the Rock Barn Golf and Spa community where the Bullins lived, Ben Marchant said news of the murders last week has hit everyone hard.

"I guess nobody's safe anymore," he said.

Even though the couple didn't play golf, they were involved in about everything else in the community.  They could often be seen on the tennis courts or dining rooms.

Jody Bullins started a book club that became quite popular and Jerry Bullins could be seen almost daily in his front yard taking care of things.  He enjoyed taking care of the lawn himself and he would talk with practically anyone who walked by.

Gavin Arsenault and Tanya Hartsoe said it's still hard to grasp the fact the Bullins are gone.

"I think we are still all in shock, and I think we will be for some time," Tanya Hartsoe said.

If you have any information about the double homicides, call Lt. Chad Moose at 704-216-8687 or Detective Carl Dangerfield 704-216-8711.

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