Rainbow City Police Chief Determined to Crack Cold Case

Thirty years after the murder of a friend, the{}Rainbow City police chief is still committed to finding her killer.Greg Carroll saw Rita Cornutt nearly every night.{} He almost always stopped by the Rainbow Mini-mart, now the Fuel Depot, on his way to work.{} He would buy a soft drink and a pack of crackers to take with him to his overnight shift{}making tire tubes{}at the Goodyear plantCornutt worked at the convenience store, and Carroll said she went out of her way to take care of customers."Always very friendly.{} Just a really sweet person," Carroll said.On August 6, 1984, he was on his way to get a snack and see Cornutt when something shook his routine--and him."I was getting ready to turn in when I seen all the police cars over there, and they had the yellow tape up around there, crime scene tape, and I knew it couldn't be nothing good," Carroll said.As he left work the next morning, he heard a news report on the radio.Cornutt was dead from stab wounds."I was upset. I was angry. Why would somebody do this to a lady that was always helping other people?" Carroll said."If they'd come in to rob her, she would have given them the money. It made no sense. It was a senseless killing. Very senseless."The investigation found about $250 cash missing, but Carroll said he thinks the culprit wanted Cornutt dead.{} He does not know why.Cornutt's murder led{}Carroll to change from making tire tubes to a career in law enforcement."I had always wanted to be a police officer," he said."There's always that little bit of a push that helps you go forward...{}I think{}[Cornutt's murder]{}pushed me in a little bit more, to hopefully, one day I could maybe do something about it, if this didn't get taken care of."He became a reserve officer and then worked for the Boaz Police Department for a few years.After joining Rainbow City Police in 1993,{}Carroll immediately began to review the Cornutt files.{} He became chief two years ago.Carroll{}continued to try to solve the murder over the years, but officially reopened the cold case this summer after a call from Cornutt's son."Every Mother's Day that comes around, he always wonders about who could have done this to his mother, and I feel like I owe him that much," Carroll said.He said there was a person of interest around the time of the murder who was never questioned.{} It is his understanding that man was in another state, and police did not travel out of state to try to pick him up for an interview.Thirty years later, Carroll said that person is still alive, and he wants to question him."Time is friendly for us because as time goes on, these people start having feelings about what they've done in the past," he said."They can't keep their mouth shut.{} They're going to tell somebody.{} And I feel like somebody out there knows something about this case and they know who done it.{} They've entrusted a friend, a coworker," Carroll said.He hopes one of those people will come forward.Carroll said one of the next steps is trying to get a judge to allow{}the opening{}of a{}sealed evidence folder.{} He hopes lab technology that exists today, but wasn't available 30 years ago, can help identify some of the evidence.If you have information about the deadly stabbing of Rita Cornutt, contact Rainbow City police at 256-442-2511.