Neighbor of strangled woman charged

Dearl Jackson charged with murder of 77-year-old Zelpha Turner
Friday, May 13, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:08 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A neighbor of the 77-year-old woman who was found strangled in her rural Boone County home has been charged with murder, linked to the crime scene by a bloody footprint, authorities said.

Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Crane charged Dearl W. Jackson, 47, with first-degree murder Friday afternoon. He has been held at the Boone County Jail since May 4 when he was arrested on an unrelated felony stealing warrant.

Boone County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tom O’Sullivan declined last week to call Jackson a suspect or confirm that he had been questioned in relation to the slaying of Zelpha Turner. He would only say that investigators “came in contact with him” during the investigation.

Turner’s granddaughter found her lying on her living room floor at 6060 N. Highway VV near Prathersville shortly before noon on May 2.

O’Sullivan said in a Friday news release that a bloody shoe print found under the victim’s body was matched to a pair worn by Jackson. The physical evidence was analyzed by the Kansas City Police Department crime lab, according to a news release from the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.

Neighbor Derrick Carlton said last week that Jackson had said he was doing work for Turner and had been inside her house days before she was killed.

Turner’s sister, Margery Wade of Centerville, Iowa, said the victim told her over the phone that she was afraid of a man she had hired to fix the roof of her garage and was thinking of investing in a home security system.

The Mid-Missouri Case Squad helped in investigating the murder. Two dozen investigators from several local law enforcement agencies followed up on approximately 80 leads and interviewed about 140 people.

Jackson is set to be arraigned in associate circuit court on Monday at 1:30 p.m. Crane recommended that bond be set at $500,000.

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