Murder suspect killed in shootout

July 21, 2009 6:38:47 PM PDT
It could be a big break in the double murder of a young couple killed on a beach in Jenner five years ago. Their murderer may be a burglar killed last week in a shootout with New Mexico police.

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In August 2004, Jason Allen and his fiancée Lindsay Cutshall were shot and killed in their sleeping bags on a beach near Jenner.

Police say there was no obvious motive -- no robbery, no enemies, no reason why someone would shoot these young missionaries who had worked at a Christian camp for the summer.

Leads dried up until last week, when sheriff's deputies in Sandoval county New Mexico killed a 62-year-old burglar called Joseph Henry Burgess. During the exchange of gunfire, he killed a sheriff's deputy.

Burgess was known as the "cookie bandit" because he burglarized cabins in the mountains for more than 10 years, stealing items needed to live outdoors.

He was also wanted for a double murder in Canada.

Burgess was the prime suspect in the murder 37 years ago of a young couple shot to death in their sleeping bag on Vancouver Island, British Columbia -- a double murder similar to the one in Jenner.

Sonoma County Sheriff's Captain Matt McCaffrey tells ABC7 Burgess' strong religious beliefs may be the motive in both killings.

"We know from the killings in Canada there were some religious overtones that he had issues about a man and woman having relations before marriage," said Cpt. McCaffrey.

Lindsay's father, Pastor Chris Cutshall told ABC7 on the phone he's at peace with his daughter's death.

"We trust in God's sovereignty and we know if he does not get justice on earth he may have to meet the great judge, God himself," said Cutshall.

Sheriffs have evidence from the crime scene at Jenner such as pages from a journal, a distinctive hat, devil like faces etched on driftwood and DNA.

Sheriff's investigators will go to New Mexico soon to see if there's evidence there that will enable them to finally bring closure the murders at Jenner.

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