It was an Orange County murder so odd, so grotesque, that it has once again brought the area dubious attention.
In 1992, a murder committed by David Sokolowski on Mincey Road in Schley had so many odd details that the Discovery Channel show “Shattered” did a full hour-long episode about it, which first aired a few weeks ago, on Dec. 16.
The episode is called “Butcher on Mincey Road.”
Locals will recognize Superior Court Judge Carl Fox, and a few landmarks seen in original footage from 1992, including the Orange County Courthouse.
Fox was serving as District Attorney when the case hit his desk in 1992. A neighbor had spotted what appeared to be body parts in a fire behind the house Sokolowski inhabited with his girlfriend, Pamela Owens Elwood. When deputies arrived on scene, things got stranger by the minute.
A dog ran across the yard carrying a human hand in its mouth. A human ear rested on a porch railing. Inside the house, more surprises awaited officers. Another human ear was found in a fruit bowl, while human testicles in a jar full of liquid were found in the fridge.
“I just hadn’t had a case where someone had been chopped up and mutilated like that,” Judge Fox said. “When I was leaving the property [in 1992] I was thinking to myself, ‘This is going to be a case people aren’t going to believe.’”
The show focuses on three main interviews, with Judge Fox, and survivors Leann Davis, and her daughter, Amy Fuller. Dramatic reenactments are interlaced with the interviews. Davis and Fuller help assemble a complex narrative leading up to the murders, with Fox filling in details about the subsequent criminal investigation.
Davis, single mother of Amy, had begun dating a man named Rubel Hill while he was still in prison in the late 1980s. Upon his release, he moved into a house with Davis and her daughter, just down the street from the eventual crime scene on Mincey Road.
The relationship between Hill and Davis eventually soured, and Amy sought refuge at the house of Elwood and Sokolowski. She became close with Elwood, and thought of her as a mother figure. She did see signs that Sokolowski was controlling, but nothing that could have made her believe he would one day kill Elwood and chop up her body.
That is what happened, in early 1992, during a time frame when Davis and her daughter had fled town to get away from Hill, who had become increasingly abusive. Investigators believe Hill found out Sokolowski had killed Elwood, and then was also killed.
Sokolowski initially claimed he had killed Hill in self defense, and that he had no knowledge of where Elwood was. With the body parts of two different people strewn about his house, law enforcement officials found that hard to believe.
The story dominated the headlines of local newspapers, including the News of Orange County, and was covered by national media outlets. Eventually, two years after his arrest, Sokolowski was found guilty of two counts of murder and is now serving two consecutive life sentences in prison.
The episode of the show closes on a high note – after years of estrangement between Leann Davis and her daughter, now Amy Fuller, the two have begun the process of reconciliation. Fuller got married, and has a beautiful family.
“I can say that I’m proud of both of them,” Judge Fox said. “I’m proud of Leann and I’m proud of Amy.”
Though Orange County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Tim Horne did not work the case in 1992, he was on patrol when the call came in that possible body parts were on fire behind a house on Mincey Road.
Horne – whose retirement from the sheriff’s office will become official on Feb. 1 after over three decades – called it perhaps the most unique case he ever saw come through the county. Horne commented on the mental makeup of a person who would be capable of mutilating bodies after a murder.
“You would think someone trying to get rid of evidence would pick a path and stick with it, but this guy just chose to dismember [these bodies] and put them all over the place,” Major Horne said.
Horne also said the house sat unoccupied for years after, and local teeangers would sometimes visit at night for morbid thrill seeking. Eventually, the house was knocked down.
“Unless you knew what you were looking for, you wouldn’t even know the house was there,” Horne said. “There’s no evidence of it any more, it’s just a field.”
With the requisite cable or satellite log in information, you can watch the “Butcher on Mincey Road” on the show’s website.