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Hazelwood man allegedly left grandma's body to seek crack

| Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008, 12:00 p.m.

A Hazelwood man accused of killing his grandmother during an argument over his drug use took $53 from her pocket and left her corpse in the living room overnight while he sought more crack cocaine, a Pittsburgh homicide detective testified Friday.

Prosecutors added theft and abuse of a corpse to the homicide charge against Jalyle Murray, and a district judge ordered him to stand trial for the Oct. 28 death of Edith Jordan, 70.

Detective Dale Canofari told District Judge Richard G. Opiela that Murray, 30, admitted to smoking crack that night. He told police he was making himself a meal when his grandmother began nagging him about his drug habit, telling him he needed to get cleaned up and find a place of his own.

Murray took a steak knife and stabbed or slashed her repeatedly in the head, neck, left arm and right hand, according to a medical examiner's report, said Deputy District Attorney Mark Tranquilli.

"This woman struggled to raise Jalyle, to get him off the street and off of drugs," Tranquilli said. "She lost a long battle against his drug habit, and it ultimately cost her her life."

Murray told detectives he moved Jordan and her wheelchair to the living room, then took the money and went back out to buy more drugs and have sex, Canofari said.

"He moved the body, he left it while he goes out and has a good time, and seeks the services of a prostitute," Tranquilli said. "He leaves the corpse to sit there for 12, 14, maybe 16 hours."

Murray called police the next morning, claiming he had found her dead.

Neighbors on Hazelwood Avenue knew Jordan as "Miss Edie" and said she would feed hungry people from her porch.

Dressed in a red Allegheny County Jail jumpsuit, Murray kept his shaved head bowed during the testimony. He did not speak, except to briefly confer with defense attorney James M. Ecker.

Relatives declined comment.

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