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Dustin Jefferson makes initial appearance on murder - aiding charge

May 30, 2014
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Dustin Jerome Jefferson, 38, now faces charges of 1st degree murder or aiding and abetting the murder of his wife, Kerry Lea O'Clair Jefferson, 32. This charge was filed shortly before a verdict of guilty of 1st degree murder was returned on Tuesday, May 27, against his mother, Ginger Lea Jefferson, 57.

The complaint filed by Tama Police Chief Jeff Filloon states, in part, "Dustin Jefferson, did unlawfully and willfully having malice and aforethought, willingly and deliberately with premeditation killed Kerry O'Clair Jefferson or did act to aid and abet in the crime of murder in the 1st degree." Kerry O'Clair-Jefferson's body was found by police at a Tama residence on the afternoon of Sept. 25, 2013.

Dustin Jefferson appeared before Magistrate Richard Vander Mey on Wednesday morning, May 28.

Article Photos

Dustin Jerome Jefferson, 38, is escorted by Tama County Deputy Sheriff Michael Wright for an arraignment in the Magistrate’s Courtroom in the Courthouse in Toledo on Wednesday, May 28. He was charged on May 27 with 1st degree murder or aiding and abetting in the crime of murder in the death of his wife, Kerry Lea Jefferson, 32, in Tama in September, 2013.

News-Herald/John Speer

A preliminary hearing was set for June 6 at 9 a.m. Magistrate Vander Mey set Jefferson's bail at $1 million cash.

Jefferson told the court he would seek a different attorney than the one currently representing him on 3rd degree sexual abuse charges for which he has been held in jail.

He was accused of committing sex acts with a then 12-year-old girl from May to July, 2013. Those charges were filed by Meskwaki Nation Tribal Police Detective Craig Karr on Oct. 9 of last year.

Jury Returns Guilty Verdict

Ginger Lea Jefferson appeared to show little outward emotion when a Tama County Jury returned a 1st degree murder verdict against her early Tuesday afternoon, May 27. Jurors took about two hours before bringing in the decision in Tama County District Court in Toledo following a trial which began with jury selection on Monday, May 19.

At the request of the defense, Judge Stephen Jackson Jr. polled the eight women and three men making up the panel to affirm the verdict.

Jefferson, 57, Toledo. was accused of stabbing her daughter-in-law, Kerry Lea Jefferson, 32, twice in the neck at a residence in Tama on Sept. 25, 2013, in a complaint filed by Tama Police Chief Jeff Filloon and in a County Attorney's information.

Reaction To Ginger Jefferson Verdict

"I think the jury listened to all the evidence and saw the truth and returned a verdict based on the truth. Assistant Iowa Attorney General Laura Roan said following the verdict. Tama County Attorney Brent Heeren also prosecuted the case.

In a statement from Kerry O'Clair Jefferson's family following the verdict, cousin Nathan Roberts said "The family thanks the law enforcement agencies and attorneys and courts for justice done for Kerry.... but we will always miss her each and every day."

"The verdict helps a little, but doesn't bring Kerry back," said her mother, Marlene O'Clair.

The family declined comment on Dustin Jefferson's arrest in connection with the case.



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