Handyman pleads not guilty in slaying of 77-year-old

Wednesday, June 22, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:44 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Columbia man arrested in connection with the May 2 death of 77-year-old Zelpha Turner pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder in Boone County court Monday.

Dearl W. Jackson, 48, a handyman hired by Turner to fix the roof of her garage, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in May after Boone County Sheriff’s deputies linked a bloody footprint found next to Turner’s body to Jackson’s only pair of shoes.

Turner’s granddaughter found her body in the living room of Turner’s home at 6060 N. Route VV near Prathersville, shortly before noon on May 2. An autopsy determined Turner had been strangled.

Jackson was in the Boone County Jail on $565,000 bond Tuesday.

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