Somerset Co. man pleads guilty to voluntary manslaughter
By The Tribune-Review
Published: Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, 10:18 a.m.
Man pleads guilty to voluntary manslaughter
A Meyersdale man avoided a potential life sentence under a plea agreement Wednesday when he agreed to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter in connection with the choking death of his ex-girlfriend in 2012.
Jonathan Beal, 24, of Meyersdale also pleaded guilty to abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence for burying the body of 19-year-old Justine Jackson near the Great Allegheny Passage hiking and biking trail outside Meyersdale.
Her remains were found Nov. 11, nearly two months after the date Beal acknowledged killing her — Sept. 14, 2012.
The potential maximum prison sentence for voluntary manslaughter is 10 to 20 years. Beal, who originally was charged with murder, could have faced a mandatory life sentence if he were convicted of first-degree murder
Somerset County public defender Steve Miller said Beal didn't mean to kill Jackson when they argued about whether to reconcile, according to The Associated Press. Miller says Beal didn't want to resume their relationship.
District Attorney Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser said prosecutors agreed to the lesser charge because they weren't sure they could prove Beal intended to kill, according to wire reports.
Judge John Cascio ordered a pre-sentence investigation and scheduled sentencing at 9 a.m. Nov. 26.
Show commenting policy
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.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.