Published: Aug 08, 2012 05:19 PM
Modified: Aug 11, 2012 04:17 PM
ROXBORO - A man with a history of secret peeping at universities was found dead July 25 in his garage in Person County.
John Thomas Whitt Jr., 60, had been dead for a few weeks from an apparent suicide, Sheriff Dewey Jones said Wednesday.
Whitt was arrested most recently in June but missed a June 28 court date. A warrant was issued for his arrest July 3. He also missed court July 10 for two counts of felony peeping related to an Oct. 31 arrest.
Family members concerned that they hadn’t heard from Whitt contacted the Person County Sheriff’s Office in late July, and deputies went to his home at 2089 Virgilina Road outside Roxboro, Jones said. They didn’t see anything unusual, but when they went back later, they found Whitt’s partially decomposed body, he said. A gun was found nearby but had not been fired, he said.
“The ignition key was still on,” Jones said. “He apparently started [the car] up and locked the garage. He was sitting behind the car.”
Whitt had more than 20 convictions for secret peeping, including incidents at UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University, N.C. State University and Wake Forest University. Jones said his deputies had few interactions with Whitt.
In 2001, Whitt was found on the roof of the Kappa Delta sorority house in Chapel Hill with a video camera. Police searched Whitt’s business, finding more videotapes, and charged him with 87 counts of misdemeanor peeping. He was sentenced to eight months in prison.
That case prompted state lawmakers to pass a law in 2003 that made it a felony to videotape someone’s naked body or undergarments without consent. Before that case, it was a misdemeanor.
Whitt was arrested again Oct. 31 when police said he was videotaping up women’s skirts during Chapel Hill’s Halloween celebration on Franklin Street.
In June, he was charged with assault on a government official and misdemeanor secret peeping after being accused of looking through a woman’s window at Mill Creek Apartments on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Chapel Hill. He was charged with a misdemeanor, because there was no video.