ALEXANDRIA — Three brothers were arrested in the 1982 beating death of 77-year-old Dan Triplett, of Woodworth.
Sheriff William Earl Hilton said Thursday that John F. McNeal, 48, of Woodworth, and Bobby Ray McNeal Sr., 50, of Lena, were booked with first-degree murder and aggravated burglary. Mark McNeal, 47, of Alexandria, was booked with accessory after the fact to first-degree murder and aggravated burglary.
“I am glad we can give another family just a little closure, even after 30 years,” Sheriff William Hilton said at a morning news conference.
Tripplett’s granddaughter Brenda Sanders is the only family member still living in central Louisiana.
“It’s bittersweet,” Sanders said. “Bitter, bittersweet. It’s bitter because it brings up a whole lot of memories. I’m reliving the way he died.”
On Aug. 9, 1982, a neighbor found Triplett in his home on Langston Road in Woodworth. Triplett’s hands and feet were bound. A pillow case was covering his head and tied around his neck. Triplett also had been beaten. He died the next day at Huey P. Long Hospital in Pineville as a result of those injuries.
“His death was such a horrible death,” Sanders said.
At the time of Triplett’s death, police said his home had been broken into through a back window and he had been robbed.
“We believed then as we do now that the motive was robbery,” Hilton said.
Woodworth Mayor David Butler had been in office less than a year when Triplett was murdered.
“I didn’t want to leave office without this having been solved,” Butler said. “I followed this case for over 30 years. (Rapides Parish Chief Deputy) Bill Robinson and I didn’t have gray hair when this happened.”
After his death, a road in Woodworth was named in honor of Triplett.
John McNeal and Bobby Ray McNeal are being held without bond in the Rapides Parish Jail. Mark McNeal is being held on a $20,000 bond, sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Tommy Carnline said.
Rapides Parish District Attorney James Downs said he will ask a grand jury for indictments against the McNeal brothers, but it will take several months before the case is presented.