Share This Page

Somerset suspect waives hearing

| Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, 12:19 a.m.

A 23-year-old Somerset County man accused of killing his girlfriend and burying her remains waived his right to an extradition hearing and will be returned to Pennsylvania to face homicide charges, according to state police and the county district attorney's office.

Jonathan William Beal, 23, of 464 Scratch Hill Road, Meyersdale, is expected to be arraigned in Somerset County sometime in the next few days on charges of criminal homicide, aggravated assault and abuse of a corpse, authorities said.

He is accused of strangling Justine Jackson, 19, of Meyersdale.

A hiker discovered her body in an 18-inch-deep grave in a wooded section of the Great Allegheny Passage hiking and biking trail in Somerset County. A team headed by forensic anthropologist Dennis Dirkmaat of Mercyhurst University retrieved the remains this week.

Jackson disappeared from her home near the walking and biking trail on Sept. 14. Police believe Jackson was strangled and then buried in the makeshift grave close to the time of her disappearance.

In an affidavit, Trooper Ted Goins described Beal as having a violent history with women.

Beal vanished late last month after he was questioned by police about the disappearance of Jackson.

Beal claimed he and Jackson had been romantically involved, but he broke off the relationship because of her drug use, according to court papers.

Authorities described the “quiet and shy” Jackson as “transient,” and often living with a family and adopted family members in Pennsylvania and in the Cumberland, Md., area.

Authorities issued an arrest warrant for Beal on Tuesday.

About 6:45 a.m. Wednesday, U.S. marshals and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office in Louisiana found Beal hiding in the bathroom of a former girlfriend's residence in Marrero, a New Orleans suburb. Authorities took him into custody. They did not identify the girlfriend.

Police determined through a computer that Beal booked train tickets to Louisiana. A passenger on a train recognized him as a murder suspect, police said.

Beal is being held at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.