Grand jury returns murder indictment in Shelby death

Grand jury returns murder indictment in Shelby death

Grand jury returns murder indictment in Shelby death

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by JOE DEPRIEST / Charlotte Observer

WCNC.com

Posted on March 9, 2010 at 5:17 PM

SHELBY, N.C. -- A Cleveland County Grand Jury has returned an indictment for first-degree murder against Donald Borders, a suspect in the 2003 death of an elderly Shelby woman, court officials said Tuesday.

The charge was resubmitted after a grand jury didn’t return an indictment in January. The panel didn’t drop the charge, but elected instead to continue it until a later date.

In January, Borders was indicted on charges of first-degree rape and felonious breaking and entering in connection with the case.

Borders, 50, of Cherryville was charged Dec. 28 by Shelby police with rape and murder in the September 2003 death of 79-year-old Margaret Tessneer.

Police said they were looking for possible links between Borders and two other women who died under similar circumstances in 2003 -- Lottie Ledford and Lillian Mullinax.

All three were found dead in their beds, with doors unlocked and phone lines cut or yanked out.

Search warrants showed that Shelby police said they were able to link DNA from Borders to the scene of Tessneer’s death.

An autopsy showed Tessneer was badly bruised on her chest, abdomen, upper arms, legs and feet. Officials said the number and color of the bruises indicated a struggle, but they couldn’t determine a cause of death.

Borders is being held in the Cleveland County Detention Center under $300,000 bond.

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