Heather Stigliano was a 19-year-old aspiring actress who was murdered by James Bernard Whipple. Secrets of the Morgue on Investigation Discovery examines the case.
Three months after moving to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Stigliano’s partially nude body was found in her home with multiple stab wounds and bruises as she was repeatedly beaten with a lamp and an iron.
Police said she was strangled to death with a lamp cord, and she was also sexually assaulted.
On November 14, 1991, Whipple was pulled over for a traffic violation while he was driving Stigliano’s vehicle in Melbourne, Florida.
Her purse, as well as a steak knife, parts of an iron, and the bottom of a wooden lamp, were found inside the vehicle.
Police also found more of Stigliano’s belongings in his motel room.
Whipple confessed to murdering Stigliano when he broke into her apartment.
Police arrested him on charges of murder, criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, grand larceny of a motor vehicle, and armed robbery.
He was booked into the Brevard County jail until police extradited him back to Myrtle Beach.
In 1992, Whipple pled guilty to the charges hoping to receive life in prison; however, he was sentenced to death. This was later overturned after a judge ruled he didn’t rape Stigliano, and Whipple eventually agreed to a sentence of life without the possibility of parole in a plea deal.
Secrets of the Morgue — The Beauty and The Beast, airs at 11pm on Investigation Discovery.