Murder weapon may have been a machete

By: W. Curt Vincent -

ELIZABETHTOWN — A domestic dispute turned deadly Monday morning at a residence along West Broad Street in Elizabethtown, and at least one media outlet is reporting that the murder weapon was a machete.

Elizabethtown police officers responded to the call at about 10:11 a.m. and, upon their arrival, found John Robert Cole, 78, deceased inside the home.

“The white male was beaten and had multiple lacerations about his body,” said Elizabethtown Police Chief Kip Hester. “Officers were told by a witness that the suspect departed the residence on foot traveling toward a wooded area across from the residence.”

Elizabethtown Fire Department officials closed a section of West Broad Street between Danaher and Elizabethtown Baptist Church while local law enforcement searched the wooded area using a helicopter unit from the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office and the town’s K-9 unit.

Both Danaher and Elizabethtown Christian Academy were put on lockdown during the search.

“The suspect was apprehended at approximately 11:30 a.m. in a wooded area approximately one-half mile from the scene of the incident,” Hester said.

Arrested was Jonathan Bruce Parker, 44, of the residence. He has been charged with first-degree murder and is being held in the Bladen County Jail without bond.

WECT-TV6 reported that Park used a machete to kill his step-father. Hester has not yet said what may have caused the dispute between Parker and Cole.

“We are currently working closely with the State Bureau of Investigation and the Bladen County District Attorney’s Office to gather all the facts and evidence associated with this case,” Hester said late Monday afternoon.

Hester added that he is proud of how the search and investigation has been handled locally.

“Though small in size, our agency is very efficient and effective in what we do,” he said. “I am a working chief, and my No. 1 priority … was to make sure our officers had the necessary equipment and manpower to effectively investigate this incident.”

W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.

W. Curt Vincent