Cumberland Times-News

January 4, 2013

Accused Meyersdale killer due in court

Jeffrey Alderton
Cumberland Times-News

— MEYERSDALE, Pa. — Twenty-three-year-old Jonathan William Beal, who is accused in the strangulation death of his one-time girlfriend, is scheduled to appear in a preliminary hearing Feb. 1 in Somerset County magisterial court.

Beal remained jailed without bond Friday in the Somerset County Jail where he is being held on homicide and other charges relating to the death of 19-year-old Justine Marie Jackson.

The charges — criminal homicide, aggravated assault and abuse of a corpse — were filed following investigation by Pennsylvania State Police.

Jackson’s body was found Nov. 11 in a shallow grave along the Great Allegheny Passage hiking and biking trail near the end of the Keystone viaduct off Glade City Road in Larimer Township. The location is about a mile from the area where Jackson was last seen walking with Beal on Sept. 14.

Beal was arrested  Nov. 14 by the U.S. Marshals Service Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in Marrero, a New Orleans suburb, when he was found hiding in a bathroom of a residence of his female friend.

He was jailed in the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center for a few days before he waived extradition and was returned to Somerset County to face the homicide charges.

Beal had reportedly left Meyersdale after his trailer along Scratch Hill Road was searched Oct. 29, police said.

The arrest was made in less than 24 hours after Pennsylvania State Police filed homicide charges against Beal.

Beal is scheduled to appear before Magisterial Judge Douglas Bell at 10 a.m. Feb, 1, according to a court spokesman.

Beal is being represented by Somerset attorneys Steve Miller and William Seger through the public defender’s office. The case is being prosecuted by District Attorney Lisa Lazzari-Strasier.

Jackson was a former resident of Ellerslie who attended Mountain Ridge High School in Frostburg before graduating from the Allegany County Center for Career and Technical Education in Cresaptown, according to the Allegany County Board of Education.

Contact Jeffrey Alderton at jlalderton@times-news.com.