Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Unsolved Murder of Alexander Winspeare


The Unsolved Murder of Alexander Winspeare
by Robert A. Waters

Alexander Anthony Winspeare had been a widower for twenty years. On October 26, 1987, the 93-year-old army veteran was found dead inside his small mobile home in Largo, Florida. He’d been murdered. For 21 years, his killer has gone free.

Winspeare spent every day including weekends at a down-home restaurant called the Fireplace. His friend, Walter Francisco, would pick him up and they would eat breakfast together. Then Winspeare hung around, eating lunch and dinner. The lonely man would chat up the waitresses and patrons, occasionally even doing a two-step to the music. Sometimes he fed the birds outside. Other times he would show off his old army medals.

He was well-liked. The owner of the Fireplace, Thomas Spiradakos, said, “[Winspeare] would come in about nine in the morning and stay until four or five in the afternoon. He [felt it was] home here. He was lonesome so we all talked to him.”

At night, Winspeare would have a few beers, then go to bed. His small lonely life flowed to the same beat every day.

On the morning of October 26, 1987, Francisco drove up to the trailer and blew his horn. When Winspeare didn’t answer, his friend went inside and found him dead. Although cops have never released the cause of death, they did acknowledge blunt trauma to the head.

Investigators learned that Winspeare’s trailer had been burglarized five weeks earlier. While the old man slept, an intruder broke in and stole $ 250. Winspeare, fearing retaliation from the burglar, didn’t report it. Cops suspect the burglar may have returned for a second helping of his money. “Maybe [Winspeare] woke up and recognized them,” said Cold Case detective Keith Barton. “I don’t have any reason to think they had any intention of [killing him].”

No real leads were ever developed. A group of teenagers who lived nearby were suspected of committing a series of similar burglaries. But they were never connected to Winspeare’s murder.

Alexander Winspeare was born in England in 1894. He migrated to Michigan in his teens. After serving in the army during World War I, he worked for many years as a machinist for Pontiac Motors. He retired in 1962 and moved to Florida. Four years later, his wife died.

A lonely, gentle man died twenty-one years ago. There has been no justice for him. Alexander Winspeare is the Joker in the Third Edition of Florida’s cold case playing cards. Here’s hoping Detective Barton finds an Ace among the inmates inside Florida’s prisons.

1 comment:

Cari said...

That just made me cry. What is wrong with people? Preying on a 93 year old man who never hurt anyone in his life. This is why I believe in the death penalty. I hope justice is found for Mr. Winspeare.