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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Reann Murphy Murder Case

     In September 2013, 9-year-old Reann Murphy and her mother moved into an apartment above a maintenance garage in a trailer park outside Smithville, Ohio thirty miles southwest of Akron. Jerrod Metsker, an unemployed 24-year-old, lived nearby in his mother's trailer. Metsker spent a lot of time playing with neighborhood kids who were less than half his age. He had built a playhouse made of blankets near his home.

     At four in the afternoon of Saturday, December 14, 2013, Reann, with her mother at work and her mother's live-in boyfriend in the apartment, went outside to play with the neighborhood children. When darkness fell the other kids went home. Reann did not.

     At eight o'clock that evening, Reann's mother, Kelly Jones, reported her daughter missing. A party of police officers, firefighters, and trailer park residents went door-to-door in search of the girl. Jerrod Metsker, who was seen building a snowman with Reann just before she disappeared, joined in the search.

     At one-thirty the next morning a searcher discovered Reann's body buried beneath garbage inside a trailer park trash bin.

     On Sunday, December 15, about twelve hours after the discovery of the corpse in the trash bin, deputies with the Wayne County Sheriff's Office, armed with an arrest warrant, knocked on the Metsker trailer door. When no one responded officers acquired a key from a family member and entered the dwelling. Inside the trailer police officers arrested Jerrod Metsker.

     Officers booked the suspect into the Wayne County Jail on the charges of aggravated murder, kidnapping, and rape. The judge ordered Metsker held on $1 million bond. The judge also assigned a public defender to represent the suspect. Metsker pleaded not guilty.

     In her preliminary autopsy result report, Wayne County Coroner Dr. Amy Jolliff revealed the victim's manner of death to be homicide. According to the coroner, Reann had been strangled to death by ligature. Dr. Jolliff also stated that the child had been raped. The Wayne County prosecutor announced that the state intended to pursue the death penalty against Metsker.

     On June 11, 2014, Jerrod Metsker pleaded guilty to aggravated murder as well as rape. The judge sentenced the defendant to two life sentences without the possibility of parole. Earlier, the victim's parents, Richard Murphy and Kelly Jones, had asked the state to drop its pursuit of the death penalty.


     

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