Suspect Awaiting Trial For 1972 Murder Of Bonnie Neighbors Dies In Prison

Bonnie Neighbors

Larry Joe Scott was arrested in Florida in 2019 after DNA and fingerprints found at the 1972 crime scene was linked to him

A Johnston County inmate that was being housed by NC Department of Public Safety for safekeeping due to medical conditions, died late Friday night, April 15th at Central Prison in Raleigh.

Larry Joe Scott, age 68, was awaiting trial on charges of First Degree Murder, Rape and Kidnapping in the 1972 death of Bonnie Neighbors. Scott was sent to the Emergency Department at Johnston Medical Center on March 21, 2022 by medical staff, where he was admitted, and was later transferred to UNC Hospital at Chapel Hill. He was transferred from there to Central Prison for safekeeping on Sunday, April 3, 2022.

In April 2007 Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell reopened the cold case murder investigation of Bonnie Neighbors and assigned two detectives to the case, who worked diligently on the case for 12 years. After obtaining a DNA match from evidence from the crime scene, and fingerprints belonging to Larry Joe Scott found inside the victim’s car, Larry Joe Scott was arrested in Bradenton, Florida on April 29, 2019.

Larry Joe Scott is escorted off a NC SBI plane at the Johnston County Airport in Smithfield in 2019 after his extradition from Florida.

Scott was transported back to Johnston County, and attorneys were appointed by the court to represent Scott. Pre-trial procedures continued from that date forward. The Johnston County District Attorney’s office had set a trial date for August 15, 2022.

District Attorney Susan Doyle said, “We were confident and ready for trial. The evidence against Scott was conclusive and overwhelming. The DA’s Office is appreciative of the hard work of the Sheriff’s Office and the SBI. We are grateful that the advancement in forensic technology allowed us to absolutely and positively identify the murderer responsible for these heinous crimes.”

Sheriff Bizzell added, “I want to personally thank Captain Buck Pipkin and Lt. Ryan Benson for the hard work, dedication, and commitment that led to the arrest of this individual. I also want to thank the staff at the State Crime Lab who worked diligently with their expertise, our District Attorney, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, as well as the SBI agents that had worked on this case in the beginning.”

Sheriff Bizzell continued, “I hope the family can find some closure, knowing that we got the right man.”


Arrest made in 1972 cold case murder of Bonnie Neighbors

Suspect in 1972 murder of Bonnie Neighbors returned to Johnston County

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