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Meyersdale man charged in teen girlfriend's death back in Pa.

| Monday, Nov. 19, 2012, 6:44 a.m.

A Meyersdale man accused of killing his girlfriend and burying her body along a hiking and biking trail in Somerset County was returned to Pennsylvania and arraigned on Saturday before District Judge Sandra Stevanus.

Fugitive Jonathan Beal, 23, was captured last week as he hid in his former girlfriend's residence in a New Orleans suburb, authorities said.

He was charged with criminal homicide, aggravated assault and abuse of a corpse and placed in the Somerset County jail with no bond, according to court records.

Beal faces a preliminary hearing on Nov. 29 before District Judge Douglas Bell.

Acting on information that Beal had fled to his former girlfriend's residence in Marrero, La., several members of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Marshal's Gulf Coast Regional Task Force arrested him on Wednesday.

State police at Somerset filed the charges against Beal for the strangulation death of Justine Jackson, 19, of Meyersdale.

The arrest was made three days after Jackson's body was discovered in a shallow grave by a hiker walking the Great Allegheny Passage in Larimer Township.

Her body was found not far from her home. Jackson had been reported missing on Oct. 28 but had not been seen for almost two months.

Beal had been a suspect in Jackson's disappearance for several weeks.

He and Jackson were last seen together on Sept. 14, when they were walking in the area of Glade City Road, about one-half mile from where the body was found. State police interviewed Beal on Oct. 26.

Beal told people he was upset with Jackson for allegedly stealing from him, according to police. Jackson, however, had told friends she was pregnant with his child, police said. They have not confirmed she was pregnant.

A state police supervisor was unavailable for further comment on Monday.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com.

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