Cathy Lynne Lentini née Piper

Cathy Lentini

Crime: Murder

Beulah Dickerson of Raleigh, North Carolina, lived to the ripe old age of 91. Tragically, she didn’t die of old age. The much-loved mother and grandmother died of blunt force trauma. What a horrible end to such a long, productive life.

I admittedly get very upset when I read about the elderly being abused and/or murdered. I think of my own dear mother and how fragile she was in the years before she died, and the idea of anyone hurting helpless old people like her makes my blood boil.

Beulah Dickerson had raised a family which is hard work when done right. In retirement she enjoyed teaching Sunday school and gardening. I gather she was proud of her rose bushes. She lived in her west Raleigh home at 160 Pineland Circle for over 40 years.

At 91 Beulah Dickerson was still independent. She took care of herself and contentedly lived alone. Her daughter brought her food sometimes, but Beulah Dickerson didn’t need a caregiver at all.

At 11:39 a.m. on October 24, 2001, Beulah Dickerson’s daughter found her beloved mother lying in a fetal position in the bedroom. The poor old dear had been battered numerous times in her face and head, and she had died of blunt force trauma.

How absolutely horrific and appalling to discover your beloved mother murdered like that. I feel so very bad for the victim’s daughter particularly, as well as for the rest of the family.

Now who the hell would do that to a sweet old lady, and why? It took investigators over a decade to close the case.

It was a tough case. It didn’t look like there was forced entry into the home. Did the victim know her attacker and invite that person in?

Home of Beulah DickersonDetectives figured that Beulah Dickerson had likely been murdered during the course of a robbery. If she hadn’t known the intruder there would have been little reason for her to be killed. It would have been far easier to tie her up — it’s not like a 91-year-old would be difficult to subdue.

The police found a bloody sock at the scene. Weird. They also found a bloody tire iron in nearby bushes that was likely the murder weapon.

Raleigh detectives did have a pretty good suspicion who the killer was from early on. They questioned one Cathy Lynne Piper whose aunt was the victim’s neighbour.

Cathy Lynne Piper could easily have learned all about Beulah Dickerson from her aunt — how the old dear lived alone and had a nice house with nice possessions. Maybe Cathy Lynne Piper had even met and spoken with Beulah Dickerson before.

The bloody tire iron the police had found happened to match the make and model of a car driven by Cathy Lynne Piper.

Yup, the woman was indeed a likely suspect and she was no angel. She had committed other crimes. She was also addicted to drugs and she hung out with what my own mother would call “an unsavory crowd”.

Considering all these facts the detectives were pretty sure Cathy Lynne Piper was the killer. Sadly, there just was not enough concrete evidence to charge her with Beulah Dickerson’s murder.

Cathy Lynne Piper was arrested soon after she was questioned by police, but not for murder. She was convicted of embezzlement and spent a few months in prison for that. She was released in June 2002.

In the ensuing years Cathy Lynne Piper married and became Cathy Lynne Lentini. She moved to Cartersville, Georgia with her husband. She worked for a while in a restaurant. She didn’t murder anyone else that I know of.

What the police didn’t learn until over a decade after the murder was that while Cathy Lynne Piper was in prison in 2002 she’d admitted to the murder. She had told people — I presume her fellow inmates — that she had used a tire iron to bash in Beulah Dickerson’s head. Robbery had been her motive, she told them them, because she needed money to settle a drug debt.

The bloody sock that the police had found at the crime scene was something she wore on her hand as she wielded the tire iron. Makes sense now — I guess she didn’t have gloves.

I don’t know why the witnesses waited so many years before telling the authorities about Cathy Lynne Piper’s confession. I can only guess that they didn’t much care for or trust police officers. Thank goodness the witnesses did step forward because it was the only way Beulah Dickerson’s family was going to see justice done.

In October 2013, with the help of authorities in Georgia, Raleigh police detectives arrested Cathy Lynne Lentini for the murder of Beulah Dickerson. Finally! It only took 12 years minus a few days!

Cathy Lynne Lentini, 53, pled guilty to 2nd-degree murder in a Wake County courtroom in August 2014. Superior Court Judge Paul Gessner handed her a sentence of 11 to 14 years in prison. He gave her credit for time served.

“The life of Beulah Dickerson was taken from us in a cruel, terrible act of violence. No one should have to endure such suffering,” said the victim’s granddaughter, Sharon Dickerson, at the killer’s sentencing. “To her killer, you took away her joy, laughter and her love for us. I hope you spend your time in prison thinking about what you have done and asking for God’s forgiveness.”

There are those who say that Cathy Lynne Lentini had recently tried to turn her life around. I’m sorry but I consider that too little too late. This is the woman who, at the age of 40 — not a youngster by any means — put a sock on her hand so she wouldn’t leave fingerprints. This is the woman who armed herself with a tire iron for a robbery. This is the woman who cold bloodedly smashed a vulnerable and extremely old woman repeatedly in the head until she was dead.

Everything Cathy Lynne Piper did that day reeked of forethought and planning, IMO. To me that means she fully intended killing Beulah Dickerson before she even picked up the tire iron. To me that means she is a heartless and soulless hellbeast.

RIP, Beulah Dickerson. I extend my sympathies to those who knew and loved her. May they find consolation in seeing justice served.

And may Cathy Lynne Lentini find only misery in prison. She deserves no joy.

WRAL News article – murder investigation
WRAL News article – arrest
Central NC News article – court appearance
WRAL News article – guilty plea

8 Responses to Cathy Lynne Lentini née Piper

  1. 2cute says:

    Awww, she haz a sad. Boo frigging hoo. Hope she stays as miserable as she looks.

  2. bulldoggy says:

    Once a granny killer always a granny killer IMO. Hope she’s never allowed near vulnerable people especially seniors ever.

  3. moodymagic says:

    This poor Mrs. Dickerson. Piper why is your sentence so little and what the hell time served as well. What a big person focusing on a poor 91 year old who did absolutely nothing to deserve you killing her. Burn in hell Piper.

  4. BENGALPUSS says:

    Some people just don’t have any moral compass at all, beating a 91yr old woman to death just to pay a drug debt. I think the sentence that she was given was pathetic, that wasn’t second degree murder it was first degree murder, she planned to kill that poor woman, you don’t take a tire iron and a sock along with you on a burglary unless your planning to either kill someone or seriously hurt someone. I hope that bitch has a life of misery for the rest of her worthless life.

  5. BENGALPUSS says:

    Cleo, i don’t know if you mean’t to put it but in the fourth paragraph you call the victim beulah Anderson, just thought i’d point it out to you.

  6. Aletheia says:

    If she really cares about turning her life around, she can jolly well keep doing that exactly where she is. There are plenty of opportunities for education and rehabilitation in prison for those who seek them, but as far as I’m concerned the first and biggest step for someone like Ms. Lentini if she really wants to turn her life around is to admit what she did and accept the consequences.

  7. BENGALPUSS says:

    Cleo, my mother used to say “an unsavoury character” just reading what your mum said brought back memories and made me laugh :)

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