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Burleson

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Burleson man held in slaying

By BRETT NAUMAN

Eagle Staff Writer

A 57-year-old Burleson County man was charged with capital murder Tuesday in connection with the slaying of a Bell Town woman found dead in her home, authorities said.

John Clayton Sheppard remained jailed without bond Tuesday after investigators charged him in the death of 74-year-old Velma Jones, Burleson County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Mike Brackman said.

Sheppard, who is on parole for an unknown offense, knew Jones because she was urging him to attend church and turn his life around, investigators said.

“ This was a very outgoing lady as far as caring for other people,” Brackman said. “She was trying to help [Sheppard] by getting him into church.”

Jones was killed in her home sometime Sunday afternoon or evening, Brackman said, but police have not revealed how she died. Investigators have established a motive for the killing but would not release information about it Tuesday.

Brackman and Burleson County District Attorney Renee Mueller said investigators were not releasing certain details until the case goes to a grand jury.

Brackman did say the murder weapon has been found.

“ The instrument we recovered has been sent to the [Department of Public Safety] crime lab in Austin to be processed,” he said.

Family and friends first worried about Jones on Sunday night when she didn’t show up for nighttime church services. Her body was discovered the next day about 4 p.m. when someone went to check on her at her home.

Police arrested Sheppard and two acquaintances in Lee County later that night driving Jones’ car, which was reported stolen after her body was found, Brackman said.

Investigators have determined the two Lee County residents arrested with Sheppard were not with him when Jones died, Brackman said.

“ They’re being considered material witnesses,” he said. “There’s no information to show they knew the homicide had occurred. They were just along for the joy ride.”

Although police weren’t saying much about the circumstances of Jones’ death, Brackman characterized Sheppard as being “cooperative” in the murder investigation.

The Texas Rangers and sheriff’s deputies were integral in the investigation, he said.

“ It’s a good feeling,” Brackman said of making an arrest in the case. “The end result is the person responsible for this will be held accountable.”

• Brett Nauman’s e-mail address is bnauman@theeagle.com.

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