A Lincoln County man who police found on fire in his home this summer was bludgeoned to death, according to the recently released autopsy.

Jimmy Wayne Cole of 1145 Oakbrook Lane in eastern Lincoln County died from repeated blows to the head with a crowbar before the 49-year-old man was set on fire, according to the autopsy report from the N.C. Chief Medical Examiner's office.

Smoke billowing from the mobile home the morning of July 21 alerted a Good Samaritan who called 911 and went to the front door to help. He instantly made a grizzly discovery.

"There's blood all over the porch, I mean just bunches of it and the back of the house is on fire," a caller who identified himself as Steve Reese told the 911 operator.

Firefighters soon discovered Cole's body.

"The local fire department arrived to find a significant amount of blood on the outside of his trailer as well as on the porch. Fire department gained entry to the trailer and found the decedent unresponsive on a cot behind the door," according to the autopsy report.

A crowbar and an ax were found at the scene. Both were submitted to the medical examiner who used measurements and patterns to determine the crowbar as the weapon used in the killing.

Cole's neighbor, John Paul Gaddy, was charged with first-degree murder the same day as the killing.

Gaddy is an out-of-work laborer with a criminal record. The 23-year-old has prior convictions of common law robbery, larceny from a person, breaking and entering and DWI.

Oakbrook Lane resident Alana Porsche said Gaddy was at her house just five hours before the 911 call came in.

"It's crazy. I can't believe this has happened," Porsche said during a previous interview with The Gazette.

Porsche said she is friends with Gaddy's girlfriend, Diana Kriss, who was arrested the same day as the killing though her citations were drug related.

Porsche said that she knew something was wrong with Gaddy when he was at her house.

"He was so belligerent. He was not in his right mind at all. He was drunk and on Xanaxes," she said.

Porsche said she lives three houses down from the crime scene. She said she knew Cole as "J.C.," who was somewhat of a loner but willing to help people out when called upon.

"He was a nice old man. I know his family had passed away about 15 years ago. He kind of kept to himself," she said.

The homicide fell exactly one month after another man was found dead in his western Lincoln County home where arson was also suspected.

Dan Mullinax was found shot to death and badly burned on June 21 in his home on N.C. 150. Detectives have not made an arrest in the case.