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Man pleads guilty to 2018 double homicide – drove around with dismembered body parts in car, police say
By Lootpress Staff,
WHEELING, WV (LOOTPRESS) – What was anticipated to be a weeks-long trial was cut short on Monday when the suspect in a 2018 homicide case admitted guilt for the killings of Trevor Vossen and Lauren Cree-Jenkins in a double homicide plea.
During a Thursday briefing at the Wheeling Police Department, officials gathered to disclose information pertaining to the case which was intended for presentation during the anticipated trial. Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger spoke to the brutality of the murders, declaring early on, “i n my 32-year law enforcement career, this is one, if not the most singular, brutal and savage homicide cases that I have come to know.”
Gerald Wayne Jako Jr. admitted guilt for his role in the 2018 murders of Trevor Vossen and Lauren Cree-Jenkins between August 1, 2018, and August 2, 2018 – a sequence of events for which the motivating factor has not been clearly determined by prosecutors. Assistant Prosecutor Shawn Turak indicated that Jako himself has stated his motivations for the slayings to have been that the victims, “stole his stuff” during a time when he was incarcerated prior to the events in question.
Turak was adamant in not lending credence to these claims, however, and states that no such instance of property having been stolen has been proven to any degree.
Another individual involved in the incidents, Jako’s girlfriend Dana Bowman, issued guilty plea in April of this year in a hearing to which the media was not made privy. Bowman admitted guilt to two counts of concealment of a deceased human body and was slated to have been the third witness called to testify in the trial, which was projected to last anywhere from two-to-three weeks.
Bowman is said by Turak to have witnessed Jako specifically shoot and kill Trevor Vossen in the kitchen area of her home. The following day Bowman was informed by Jako that Lauren Jenkins was also dead, and that the two bodies had been concealed in Bowman’s basement.
Bowman is reported to have been prepared to testify to clean-up efforts made in the kitchen of the residence where at least one of the murders took place. According to Sgt. Rob Safreed, Investigations Commander with the Wheeling Police Department, these efforts involved the implementation of bleach, acid, and replacement of flooring in the area, among other tactics. She also was slated to testify to having witnessed Jako, after the shooting, stabbing Vossen in the neck with a kitchen knife and telling him to, “die like a man.”
After having last been seen alive by family members on July 31, 2018, Vossen and Cree-Jenkins would be reported missing to authorities on August 3, 2018.
Jako is said to have received coerced assistance from Bowman, as well as an additional party who has been charged, in the dismembering of the bodies of the deceased. He then transported the dismembered body parts in a Jeep on I-77 to a location off Sullivan Road in the Beckley area where he set fire to the remains on August 4, 2018. The remains were subsequently discovered in Raleigh County 11 days later on August 15, 2018.
Turak pointed out during Thursday’s briefing that Jako displayed a staggering lack of remorse and casual demeanor while transporting the body parts, as evidenced by his decision to stop at a restaurant for dinner with the victims’ remains still inside the vehicle.
“We believe that the car was full of the remains of the dismembered bodies of Trevor and Lauren. What we found to be incredibly cold on the part of Mr. Jacko was: on his way out of town on August 3, 2018, before he got too far, he stopped for dinner at the Saint Clairsville Mall at the Steak and Shake. Not only did he stop for dinner, he went inside with his car stinking and smelling of what was in it, and he sat down, and he had a meal,” she said.
“That’s the kind of person that we were facing. He was a very calculating; cold blooded; not moved by emotion; cold-hearted killer.”
Jenkins was reportedly several months pregnant at the time of the slayings, and Jako would have faced charges of triple homicide had he not issued a guilty plea on Monday. A sentencing date is yet to be determined at the time of writing.
Jako currently faces two life sentences in addition to an existing 100-year sentence being served on unrelated charges.