In June of 1989, Dorothy LeConte, 22, of Haiti, who had come to the area to study at Technical Career Institute in New York, took a trip to Hempstead to visit her aunt and brother. She was found strangled to death and apparently raped under a footbridge near the high school. Yesterday Hempstead police made an arrest in the case. Joey Bethea (mugshot left), 17 at the time of the murder, had been living upstate for years, working most recently as a laborer at the Wagner-Nineveh sawmill. He’d never been fingered for the crime before, but in a recent arrest of Bethea for stealing money from a tip jar (which he played off to friends as a fake arrest relating to his “undercover” police work), cops got a DNA sample from him, and this was found to be a match for DNA found at the LeConte crime scene.
The folks back home in Bainbridge, New York are surprised at Bethea’s arrest: “never had any problem with him,” says his boss at the sawmill; “place is always immaculate,” says his landlord; “I never felt I was in danger from him,” says a female friend, “but he did steal from me.”
Bethea maintains his innocence.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 1, 2009