Bessie Lee Thweatt
Birth: January 19, 1912
Death: January 10, 2000
No obituary found.
Husband: Wilburn Bernie Thweatt
Burial: Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery, Newton, Dale County, Alabama, USA
The Southeast Sun
Kay Kirkland – Oct. 30, 2002
View on SoutheastSun.com
A man convicted recently in the murder of an 87-year-old widow who lived near Daleville was sentenced to death Monday by Houston County Circuit Judge Ed Jackson.
A Houston County jury recommended the death penalty for Rex Allen Beckworth after convicting him at the conclusion of his trail in September.
Beckworth, 34, was convicted of capital murder Sept. 16 in the January 2000 murder of Bessie Lee Thweatt. Beckworth’s step-brother, James Earl Walker, still faces trial in the case in November.
Mrs. Thweatt lived near the Houston/Dale County line on Highway 84 East. She had lived in the same house for 50 years. Her body was found by relatives Monday, Jan. 10, 2000.
Preliminary autopsy results showed Mrs. Thweatt died of a gunshot wound to the head, and she appeared to have sustained significant trauma by blows to her body before she died.
The Houston County Sheriff’s Department investigation had centered on the theft of a .22 caliber rifle taken in a burglary in the north Alabama city of Piedmont Dec. 29, 1999 which was believed to have been used to kill Mrs. Thweatt sometime during the weekend of Jan. 8-10. Beckworth reportedly contended in the trial that his step-brother had fired the shot that killed Mrs. Thweatt
Sheriff’s Department Commander Bill Land said burglary led to the killing. “It was a senseless killing,” he said.
Beckworth and Walker were both charged with capital murder in connection with the execution-style slaying of Mrs. Thweatt. The investigation had involved law enforcement agencies throughout the state and in neighboring states, as well as the FBI.
Land said Beckworth and Walker surfaced as suspects in the brutal murder shortly after a rifle believed to be the murder weapon was found in a creek near Mrs. Thweatt’s home. The Remington Speed Master Model 552, with its stock removed, was found Jan. 21, 2000 in the creek at Power Dam Road.
The rifle was later determined by forensic experts to be the same weapon used to kill the elderly widow. The trail of evidence eventually led to warrants issued for Beckworth and Walker, who were taken into custody weeks apart at different locations.