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Prosecutor to seek death penalty in Jefferson City murder case


Cole County's top prosecutor said Wednesday that his office will seek the death penalty against a Jefferson City man charged this week with the murder of his child's mother.

Sergio L. Sayles, 36, was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder, armed criminal action, evidence tampering and first-degree stalking. He remains in the Cole County Jail without bond.

Cole County Prosecuting Attorney Locke Thompson said at Sayles's first court hearing Wednesday that the state will seek the highest punishment possible.

Sayles pleaded not guilty during the hearing. His lawyer also asked that the court consider setting bond for Sayles.

Police found the woman, Jasmine King, dead from stab wounds to her head, face, neck, torso and back in her home Monday in the 300 block of West Ashley Street after King's family called police for a well-being check, according to a probable cause statement. Sayles gave inconsistent stories about where he was Monday afternoon and he denied killing King, according to the statement.

Sayles and King have a toddler child together.

Witness statements and surveillance video connected Sayles to the crime scene, the statement says. Police also recovered the murder weapon and some of Sayles's belongings in a trash bag at McClung Park, where surveillance cameras captured Sayles sitting in his vehicle around the time of King's death, according to the statement.

Thompson said in a notice of his intent to seek the death penalty that capital punishment applies to this case because of Sayles' violent history including a 1999 Illinois conviction for aggravated assault; that the crime was brutal; and that the victim was a witness in a court case.

"We've alleged some of those aggravating circumstances...when we looked at the case, we determined that some of those aggravating circumstances did exist, so that's why we filed for the death penalty," Thompson said.

King had reported a complaint in 2021 for harassment and stalking after saying Sayles had allegedly threatened to shoot her in the face and kill her.

Sayles was previously charged with first-degree harassment in 2021 and first-degree stalking in 2022.

Article Topic Follows: Crime

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.


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