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Fort Worth Jury Rules Man Killed Ex-Homeless Woman

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FORT WORTH (AP) – A Fort Worth jury has convicted a 43-year-old man of brutally raping and murdering a mentally challenged woman who had been homeless for years.

Prosecutors had waived the death penalty in the case of James Wesley Jackson so he received an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole for the killing of 59-year-old Jo Beth Merchand.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports Merchand’s body was found Dec. 2, 2011 with bruises, vaginal tears a crushed larynx and a broken nose. Prosecutors say Jackson burglarized Merchand’s apartment then raped and strangled her to death. Merchand had lived in a homeless shelter for seven years before church friends helped her move into an apartment.

Jackson’s attorney Warren St. John says he will appeal the ruling.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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