Trial Set to Begin for Potts in Slaying of Indiana Teen
SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (AP) _ After finding the bones of a murdered teen-ager crammed into a 4-foot grave on rugged Garrett Mountain, investigators spent the next four months searching for more victims of a possible serial killer.
They didn’t find a thing. The suspect, migrant worker Frank Potts, goes on trial today for the solitary murder of Robert Earl Jines, whose body was discovered behind Potts’ tin-roofed cabin on the remote, forested bluff.
But local officials say they think there are probably more bodies to be found around the 40-acre property owned by Potts, who police once suspected in 15 murders in six states.
Potts, 51, faces a sentence ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment if convicted of killing Jines, who was last seen with Potts on April 1, 1989. The 19-year-old from Indianapolis died of a blow to the head.
``It was just plain, old murder, a man wanting to kill a man,″ said Jackson County District Attorney Dwight Duke.
Potts denies killing anyone. He is currently serving a life term without the possibility of parole for 25 years in Florida, where he was convicted last year of sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl.
Potts purchased the property in northeast Alabama near the remote community of Estill Fork in 1981, and it had been rumored as a burial site for years. It was searched at least three times before the body was found.
Acting on a tip from Jines’ girlfriend, Bobbie Lee Harrell, who said she believed Potts wanted to become her lover, authorities finally discovered Jines remains last year.
Cadaver-sniffing dogs later identified 12 to 15 places where other bodies might be buried, and authorities excavated many other sites. Deputies, police officers, federal and state agents, even prisoners helped look.
Investigators wore off the points of several shovels, and found clothes and other items buried all over Potts’ land - but no additional human remains.