When Bob and Bunny Lehton arrived at their Cocoa Beach, Florida home on the evening of March 20, 1994, they walked into a nightmare. As they walked through their front door, they were startled to find that they weren’t alone in their house. A masked intruder, brandishing a dagger and a gun, was standing in their kitchen. The man immediately bound and gagged Bob and Bunny, then ordered them to get on their knees and crawl from the kitchen to the living room. The terrified couple quickly complied.
Once the intruder had herded the couple into their living room, he ordered them to lie down on the floor. For the next 30 minutes, the man held Bob and Bunny hostage in their own home. Although he demanded cash at one point, robbery didn’t seem to be his primary motive; Bunny was wearing several pieces of expensive jewelry and there were valuables in plain sight throughout the house, but the man made no attempt to take anything.
The man appeared to be waiting for someone; he kept glancing at the clock as he paced back and forth in the living room. Hoping to placate the man, Bunny told him that she had $50 in her wallet; the intruder took the cash and some of her credit cards but then resumed his nervous pacing.
Bob and Bunny weren’t sure what to think. Although the man never loosened his grip on the weapons he was carrying, he wasn’t acting overtly hostile. The couple made several attempts at engaging him in conversation in the hopes that he would tell them what he wanted, but he simply ignored them as they offered him money, jewelry, and their car keys. He just kept pacing.
About a half hour after the ordeal began, headlights flashed across the front of the house as Bunny’s daughter, Amy Gellert, pulled into the driveway. Her arrival appeared to agitate the intruder; as soon as he heard her car, something in him snapped. Without warning, he attacked Bob and Bunny with the dagger he was holding.
The man in the mask stabbed Bob in the head once, then went to Bunny and stabbed her many times in the neck and lower back. Bob stumbled to his feet and made it to the front door. He was scared that Amy was going to walk in and become a third victim. He ran outside and yelled for Amy to get help. The intruder, however, was only a few steps behind Bob. He rushed out the front door and attacked Amy as she got out of her car.
But the man’s knife was too strong for Amy’s knapsack, which she tried to use to protect herself. It’s possible that he knew Amy’s screams would get people’s attention even though he stabbed her many times in the head and neck. The attack ended just as quickly as it had begun. The man ran down the street quickly and lost sight in the dark.
Amy finally made it across the street to the parking lot of a condo building, where she begged a woman to call for help. Amy told the woman she had been stabbed while she was gasping for air. She then fell to the ground. She yelled for someone to call the police and then tried to comfort Amy, but it was too late. Amy had died.
The police arrived quickly and took Bob and Bunny to a nearby hospital, where they would stay for a few weeks to heal from their injuries. Their hearts broke when they learned Amy had been kil*led.
It shocked the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office that Amy had been kil*led in a nice, quiet neighborhood with a low cri*me rate. They had a hard time figuring out why the vicious blitz attack had happened, since it seemed to have happened by chance.
At least until the armed intruder showed up, Bob and Bunny’s Sunday had been just like any other. Every Sunday, the couple went to the evening service at Calvary Church on Merritt Island. Amy, who is 21 years old, also went, but she met her mom and stepfather there. Her new friend Bunny gave her her old convertible, and she wanted to take it to church with the top down.
Amy stayed at church after Bob and Bunny left because the service was over. And she stayed late to make sure everything was put away right because she was in charge of the soundboard during church services. They knew she wouldn’t be gone for long and would see them at the house soon. The whole family had no idea what they would find when they got home.
The brutal attack shocked the people of Cocoa Beach. They lost their sense of safety when they learned that a crazy ki*ller could be on the loose in their neighborhood. The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office was under a lot of pressure to make an arrest quickly.
The detectives’ main goal was to find Amy’s kil*ler, but they didn’t have much information. As the kil*ler hid his face with a black ski mask, Bob and Bunny had no idea what he looked like. The small amount of skin that they could see around his mask’s eyeholes told them he was white, and they thought he was in his twenties. He wore a black shirt, black pants, and white shoes. He was about 5 feet 8 inches tall and had a medium build. A pair of black knit gloves were also on his hands, probably to avoid leaving fingerprints.
Bunny told the police that the man had been a little quiet and had a strong Northeastern accent, like he was from Maryland or Pennsylvania of her description. She and Bob didn’t know the voice, and they were sure it wasn’t someone they knew who was kil*ling someone.
There was no sign of the k*iller at Bob and Bunny’s house, even though he had been there for a long time. The police had a hard time because there was no description, fingerprints, or DNA.
When they took their investigation outside the house, their luck changed a bit. Investigators found the magazine of a handgun in the driveway, close to the blue knapsack Amy had used to try to protect herself but failed. The k*iller must not have noticed that he dropped it because he was in such a hurry to get away.
Detectives found that the magazine came from a stage gun, which was a Brixia 9 mm handgun that is mostly used in plays. While the man held up the gun like it was real, it was actually just a prop. That’s why all of his victims had been stabbed instead of shot.
Since police knew that this kind of gun wasn’t very common, they were hopeful that it would help them find the k*iller. The bad news is that it turned out to be a dead end. Checks with nearby theater groups turned up nothing, and detectives came to the conclusion that the ki*ller had probably stolen the gun at some point. Even though they asked people many times, no one came forward to say they had such a gun. Its original owner is still unknown.
The police were able to get DNA from the gun magazine. They compared this DNA to all cri*minal DNA databases but couldn’t find anything. They have been careful not to rule out suspects with this DNA, though, because they don’t know for sure that it comes from the kil*ler. Someone may have owned the gun before the murd*erer, so it could be theirs.
Shortly after the mu*rder took place, a homeless man found several of Bunny’s credit cards near Cape Canaveral Hospital in Cocoa Beach. He turned them in at a nearby bank, and the bank manager alerted police. They were the credit cards that had been taken by the k*iller, but by the point police obtained them they had been handled by too many people to be of any forensic use to the investigation.
Bob and Bunny told detectives that the ki*ller had appeared to be waiting for someone, perhaps a person who was going to give him a ride. Working on the assumption that the ki*ller had arranged for a getaway driver who later bailed on him, officials announced that they would be willing to cut a deal with this driver if they would come forward. They got no response.
Some investigators believe that Amy was the target of the k*iller, and he was waiting for her to return home from church. It’s a viable theory, especially considering the fact that her arrival was the catalyst for the brutal attack on Bob and Bunny. The kil*ler had been relatively calm until Amy’s car pulled into the driveway.
It soon became apparent that there wasn’t going to be a quick arrest in this case. Although detectives followed up on hundreds of different tips, they were unable to develop any solid leads in the months that followed the mur*der. They admitted that they were still struggling to determine if the cri*me had been a home invasion that went terribly wrong or something more sinister, and they feared that the ki*ller’s trail was growing cold.
Over the years, detectives considered about a dozen potential suspects, but eventually eliminated most of them. By 2017, they had two men that they still considered to be viable suspects, but admit that they have no physical evidence to connect either one of them to the murd*er. The DNA found on the gun dropped by the kil*ler doesn’t match either man and neither Bob nor Bunny was able to identify them based on a voice lineup. Investigators refuse to give up, however, and hope that someone will eventually come forward and provide them with the information they need to press charges.
Amy Gellert was just 21 years old when she was brutally murd*ered in 1994. The circumstances surrounding her murd*er are bizarre, and investigators are still unsure of the exact motive behind the attack. Although it has been more than 27 years, detectives still believe this case can be solved if the right person will come forward. If you have any information about Amy’s murd*er, please contact the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office at 321–264–5201.