A grandmother, beloved by neighborhood children because she took time to talk to them and gave them treats, and a man in his 60s who lived with her, were bludgeoned to death yesterday in the woman's two-story brick row house in a Southwest Washington housing project, D.C. police said.
Relatives identified the two as Lillian Bergamy, 45, and Charles Bryant, both of 1225 Half St. SW. Dr. William J. Browniee, assistant D.C. medical examiner, pronounced them dead at the acene.
Two teen-age girls found them sprawled on the bloodstained kitchen floor between 3:30 and 4 p.m., they said. The girls said they had come to visit Bergamy, as they often did, and found the kitchen door, which faces an alley, ajar.
Police said they have no motive and no suspects. Homicide detective Sgt. John Horstkamps said, "They were nice people, good people and God only knows why they were beaten." Investigators would not discuss the nature of the murder weapon, beyond describing it as a blunt instrument.
Daughters of the dead woman told a reporter yesterday they believed she knew her assailants, basing this on the fact that the door was ajar but had not been forced.
"If she did not know you, she would not let you in," said Gloria Williams, one of Bergamy's three children, all of whom live in the area.
A neighbor, Nellie Harris, said, "She kept the back door locked all the time. There were two locks on that back door. She wouldn't have opened it unless she knew who was there."
Bergamy's daughters described her as a woman who "lived for her 30 grandchildren."
Carolyn Bergamy said her mother, a D.C. resident for about 20 years, took her children and left her native Thomson, Ga., to live in the District of Columbia, where she hoped her young children would have better opportunities.
Glolria Williams said that "she taught us about values, about being responsible, that she wanted us to finish school and stay out of trouble. She left Georgia because she thought things would be better for us here."
When Bergamy first came to the District, Williams said, her mother worked as a domestic for about a year. But then she said, her mother suffered a nervous breakdown. She had been treated as an outpatient at St. Elizabeths Hospital for many years, the daughter said.
Nellie Harris remembered the victim as a good friend and an excellent seamstress. "I couldn't want a better neighbor. We would talk about ordinary things -- about living and trying to cope. She was worried about corruption in the world, but we knew as we talked that we couldn't do anything about it."
Carolyn Bergamy remembers a time when her mother anonymously sent some of her own food stamps to a man she had heard was hungry.
Mrs. Bergamy's relatives knew little of Bryant from Tampa, Fla., who they said was first introduced to their mother several years ago when Bryant roomed with an uncle. They said he had retired some years ago from the District government.
As one of the frightened teenage girls remembered the incident yesterday, tears welled up in her eyes. "I went and knocked on the door and then I saw them lying there. It seems like she's still alive. Why would anyone want to do it to her?"