published Saturday, September 17th, 2011

Gilmer couple’s night of ‘horror’ still shocking

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Audio clip

Gilmer County Sheriff 911 tape

A light tap on the front door interrupted Kay McClure’s thoughts as she watched television early Wednesday morning in her cozy Ellijay, Ga., home.

McClure, who couldn’t sleep that night, went to the window and froze when she saw the silhouette of a man whose face was ashen. A rope was wrapped four times around his neck, his hands bound at his hips.

“I need help,” the man mouthed, but no sound came from his lips.

Terrified, McClure ran to wake her husband, Freddie, and dial 911.

Several minutes later, as a Gilmer County sheriff’s deputy untied the rope from Donald Bossa’s body on the McClures’ front porch, the 76-year-old man told a story of how two men had charged into his Eagle Mountain Drive home and tied him up.

Covering his ears, Bossa said he could hear his wife’s screams as she ran to the basement and he was powerless to help her, Kay McClure later recalled.

But the 55-year-old woman said Friday she is still in shock after she saw on television that Bossa had been arrested and charged with killing his wife, Barbara.

Gilmer County Coroner Jerry Hensley said Barbara Bossa died from strangulation.

On Friday, Barbara Bossa’s children were making arrangements for a private funeral for their mother in Norwalk, Conn., but they asked to keep everything quiet, an employee of Collins Funeral Home there said.

The McClures, who live about a mile and a half from the Bossas in the Coosawattee River Resort, say they had never met the couple, but they won’t ever forget what happened that night.

“It was a horror movie,” 59-year-old Freddie McClure said.

When the deputy left with Donald Bossa to go check on his wife Wednesday morning, the McClures went back inside their home. The rope from Bossa’s neck lay on their front porch until an investigator came back later in the morning to claim it.

“How was that poor man’s wife?” Kay McClure asked the investigator, afraid of the answer.

She remembers him hesitating before saying, “She’s deceased.”

To the couple’s surprise, the investigator stayed for hours, asking if they had noticed anything unusual about Bossa.

“I did notice something odd,” Kay McClure said. “[But] he seemed very sincere” about being concerned for his wife.

Bossa didn’t have any red marks from the rope, she said. His wristwatch still was on one hand and a silver bracelet was on the other. He did not look her straight in the eyes as he told his story, she said.

“I wanted to help him,” she said.

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about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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