ELWOOD, Ind. – It’s a gruesome crime still shaking a small central Indiana community.
Elwood Police found 66-year-old Linda Speer dead inside her home last week and charged her brother-in-law, 68-year-old George Knotts with her murder.
Prosecutors filed formal charges against Knotts on Thursday. They also added a rape charge to the list. He now faces two counts of murder, one count of rape, one count of criminal confinement, and one count of strangulation.
The details of Linda Speer’s murder are horrific for her family members. It all seems to have happened while Speer and Knotts were going back and forth about planning her sister’s funeral.
This time last week the fear gripping the small Elwood community subsided. Police arrested George Knotts on July 11th and charged him with his sister-in-law’s brutal murder.
“Senseless, yes,” said Linda Speer’s daughter Andrea Burt.
Sisters Andrea Burt and Jan Pine remain heartbroken but even more stunned as to why they believe their mother was killed.
George Knotts was still married to Linda Speer’s sister Alice, though the couple had been estranged for a number of years. Alice died in December, but family members tell FOX 59 there’d been no funeral. It’s something Linda Speer wanted for her sister.
“That’s the only thing they were discussing is what we were going to do with my aunt,” said Andrea Burt, “After six months, she’d about had enough. She was wanting him to do the memorial.”
Elwood Police found Linda Speer’s body inside her bedroom at 1815 North C Street on July 8th. New court documents state Speer was on the floor, covered by a towel, with a pink scarf tied tightly across her neck.
The medical examiner found she’d been strangled along with evidence of sexual assault.
Though Speer’s body was discovered on July 8th, the county coroner believed Speer was killed in the late evening hours of July 6th or early morning hours of July 7th. Detectives interviewed George Knotts days later, and he denied he was at Speer’s home. He later told them he could’ve been there talking about his wife’s funeral.
Knotts claimed any sexual acts were consensual. He also told police he’d been off his medication for four days, and Speer was still alive when he left her home.
The sisters shudder when they think of what their mother went through. But both said they are relieved Knotts is behind bars.
“Since we’ve got the person who did it, he’s going to have to pay for it,” said Andrea Burt.
George Knotts is being held without bond in the Madison County Detention Center. He declined FOX 59’s request for a jailhouse interview. His family also declined to comment.