MILLER COUNTY, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Miller County Sheriff's Office on Monday arrested a woman in connection with a 19-year-old murder outside a bar.
Tabatha Carter, 53, was arrested in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, on outstanding warrants from Morgan County, the Miller County Sheriff's Office said in a news release. She is facing charges of accessory to first-degree murder and accessory to armed criminal action in a 2001 shooting death in Brumley.
Authorities said Jerry Allen Jefferies was found dead in the parking lot of Mill Creek Lounge in Brumley on July 23, 2001. Investigators say Jefferies was shot in the head next to his pick-up truck.
According to court documents, Carter was wanted for the past 17 years on other charges and as a person of interest in this case.
When speaking with her after the arrest in Oklahoma, detectives say she admitted she was at Mill Creek Lounge the night Jefferies was shot. Carter allegedly told a detective that a man named Mitch Skinner shot Jefferies with a rifle and that "he begged for his life."
Carter did nothing to stop the shooting, according to a probable cause statement filed in the case. She told a detective "that she was a willing participant in the death of Jerry Allen Jeffries," according to the statement.
Miller County Sheriff Louie Gregoire couldn't give many more details about other suspects.
"We have several leads we are going to continue following and hopefully we will be able to make a few more arrests," Gregoire said.
He said it was a relief to make a break in the case after several years of nothing.
"We don't let any case just go off to the wayside," Gregoire said. "We're looking for closure for the family."
Anita Jeffries, the victim's sister-in-law was in the Sheriff's office Tuesday after the news of Carter's arrest.
"I promised his mother on her deathbed that I would see this through," Anita Jeffries said. "I have seen this case through and so has the rest of the Jeffries family for 18 and a half years... do you think we're gonna give up now."
She said this helps bring closure to her family.
"His son will never be the same," Anita Jeffries said. "Because he lost his father, you know you can't replace people with objects."
Carter is being held in the Miller County Jail with no bond.