Two Bodies Found Floating In Maryland River, 38 Years Later Their Killer Dies In Delaware Prison

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A Delaware inmate serving two life sentences for murder died Wednesday.

The Delaware Department of Correction (DOC) today announced that 71-year-old Jackie R. Lovett, suffering underlying health conditions, died on Wednesday, August 5 at Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus from complications from hypothyroidism and COVID.

Lovett was serving his sentence in the Sussex Correctional Institution for the murders of Lori Todd and Richard Bull. On June 24, 1982, the Todd and Bull’s bodies were found floating in a tributary of the Pocomoke River in Maryland. Autopsies revealed that each had died from a bullet wound to the head. A subsequent joint investigation by Maryland and Delaware State Police indicated that the victims may have been killed in Delaware and their bodies dumped in nearby Maryland.

On each of the next four days, police talked to Charles Bower, a relative of Lovett, about the murders. Bower initially denied any knowledge of them, but on June 28, gave police a statement in which he claimed he was in a farmhouse near Delmar, Delaware, when Lovett took both Todd and Bull in back of the farmhouse and murdered them. He was later convicted of the murders at trial.

Lovett was tested for COVID-19 on July 5, 2020 and tested positive as DOC initiated proactive testing of all inmates as part of its aggressive COVID-19 mitigation efforts after a cluster of cases was identified through proactive monitoring and testing.

After his positive COVID-19 test result was returned, Lovett was transferred to James T. Vaughn Correctional Center where he initially received treatment in the facility’s COVID-19 Treatment Center. As symptoms developed he was admitted to Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus for treatment on July 14, where his family was engaged in treatment decision-making. In recent days Lovett’s condition deteriorated and he was pronounced dead by hospital staff at 3:21 a.m. today.

Lovett’s body was released to the Delaware Division of Forensic Science to determine cause of death.

Lovett, from Salisbury, MD, has been in DOC custody since 1982 and was serving two life sentences for two counts of 1st Degree Murder and Possession of a Deadly Weapon.

This week DOC announced that 350 inmates who tested positive last month for COVID-19 at two facilities have recovered from the illness. As of August 5, only 7 of the remaining inmates with active COVID-19 infection are symptomatic, including 2 inmates who are hospitalized. No inmates with COVID-19 infection remain on a ventilator.

About Staff Writer

First State Update's Delaware editorial team covers New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County breaking news, political news, and general news stories. We bring the reader the latest news from the Wilmington, Newark, Dover, Rehoboth Beach and all point in between. If you have news to share, email us at desk@firststateupdate.com.

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