Justin Bartlett, 25, of Brackenridge, Pennsylvania is being questioned by authorities in the murder of 63-year-old Linda McGinnis, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
Bartlett was arrested in Fairmont, West Virginia in an unrelated case after a “short foot pursuit,” authorities said, according to the station.
Heavy spoke with Bartlett’s cousin who said “trouble always found him.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. McGinness Died From Stab Wounds to Her Head & Neck
According to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office, McGinnis “died of stab wounds to her head and neck,” WPXI reported.
The station reported that McGinnis had last been seen at her home on Friday morning, and was later reported missing after her mother hadn’t heard from her. On Saturday, she was found dead in the her home.
According to court records obtained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, McGinnis and Bartlett were neighbors who lived on the same street.
A neighbor, Kathy Silvan, told Channel 11 that Bartlett gave her “the creeps.” “Just the way he would sit there on the porch,” Silvan told the station. “I told her, ‘Linda, you’re getting too close to him. Don’t trust him, please.'”
2. Bartlett Was in Possession of the Victim’s Car When He Was Arrested in West Virginia
According to the WSAZ, authorities in West Virginia said Bartlett had been in possession of McGinnis’ car.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Department in West Virginia said an OnStar system in the car had tracked him to West Virginia, where they believe he slept in a church which had muddy footprints inside, WSAZ reported.
Authorities in West Virginia initially said they encountered Bartlett on Saturday, but said he ran into a wooded area and was at large until his arrest on Monday.
While she isn’t sure why he was in possession of McGinnis’ car, Bartlett’s cousin, Destinie Bartlett, told Heavy that he was thought to be visiting his girlfriend in West Virginia.
3. An Ex-Girlfriend Said He Tried to Cut Her Throat
In November of 2016, Bartlett was arrested on charges of false imprisonment, simple assault and other offenses, according to the Post-Gazette. An ex girlfriend said that Bartlett tried cutting her throat the same month, though it has not been confirmed if the charges stem from that incident.
The report above states:
On Saturday, November 26, 2016 at approximately 8:00 p.m., Justin Bartlett and myself got into an argument. I went downstairs to leave his home but he chased me down the steps and pushed me into the couch where he hit me with my own fist. He then locked his front and back door and told me to give him my phone.He then told me I wasn’t going to leave. He took my phone and went upstairs. I waited a few minutes then went upstairs. We began arguing again. The fighting escalated and he threw knives at me. He told me repeatedly he was going to kill me. He attempted to cut my throat, strangle me, and break my neck. He kept telling me he was going to kill me. He punched me in the head at least 5 times and punched me in the arm + chest.
The report also stated that there were no prior instances of abuse between the two.
Another ex-girlfriend reported in 2013 that Bartlett had beaten her with a baseball bat:
“…He grabbed a baseball bat and beat me in the legs,” part of the statement read. The report also stated that she was punched and choked.
A friend of that woman, Sami Marie Tassone-Gilmer, told Heavy that she had confided the abuse to her. “I told her to get away and she didn’t listen to me,” she said. “He was at my first wedding and kind of just watched.” Tassone-Gilmer continued:
He was disrespectful. Once I asked him to leave and he wouldn’t so I called his dad and he ended up at one of my neighbor’s houses. They couldn’t get him to leave either. I ended up having to call the police. He is a sociopath…he is a pathological liar…he is an awful person. I have absolutely nothing good to say about him. He would tell these sob stories to try and get you to feel sorry for him, and that’s when the real Justin would come out.
4. He Was Charged With Burning a Cat to Death in 2013
Bartlett was charged in a 2013 incident where authorities say he burned a cat to death.
According to Triblive, Bartlett had a falling out with a previous friend, Richard Marvin.
Marvin arrived home to a broken patio door and skylight. He initially thought his cat was the only thing missing, but after walking around the house with authorities, the cat was found, and had been burned to death.
Although Bartlett’s cousin told Heavy she believes he was framed for the crime, police say he admitted to killing the cat by burning it to death. The reason he allegedly gave was because he was upset that he and Marvin had a “falling out.”
Triblive reported that an empty gas can belonging to Bartlett was found on Marvin’s back porch.
5. His Cousin Described Him as ‘Troubled, But Meaning Well’
Bartlett’s cousin Destinie said she was one of the few family members whom Bartlett trusted and confided in. She said that though he was troubled, he meant well. “Trouble always found him. He has a good heart. It’s really frustrating seeing him in the media and so many people judging without knowing the full story, Destine told Heavy. She continued:
He’s not a suspect, he’s just wanted for questioning. His sister told me the media is wrong. Justin is wanted for questioning because he used to work for Linda McGinnis and knows information about her actions and things she had said before he murder. Why the media is plastering his picture and a false accusation all over is unknown but even the homicide detectives said Justin was only wanted for questioning about things before the murder.
Bartlett’s Facebook page said he “Works at Fire/EMS,” and the photo above shows him in apparent uniform.
*This story will be updated as information becomes available.
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