Pa. man accused of killing his girlfriend in 2003 to face additional charges

WILLIAMSPORT — Four additional charges have been filed against the man accused of killing his then-girlfriend in Montoursville in 2003, cutting off her legs and concealing the body for years.

Senior Lycoming County Judge Kenneth D. Brown on Tuesday granted, over defense objections, the prosecution’s motion to add three counts of corpse abuse and one of tampering with evidence against Jade G. Babcock.

Babcock, 52, is accused of killing Brenda Lee Jacobs in 2003 and concealing and dismembering her body. His trial is due to begin on June 20.

His original charges were homicide and tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice, and abuse of a corpse.

First Assistant District Attorney Martin Wade argued that the factual scenario developed during Babcock’s preliminary hearing clearly establishes that the corpse was abused in various ways; accordingly, multiple counts of abuse of a corpse are appropriate.

He cited the following based on previously made public evidence:

  • A pair of human legs were discovered on May 11, 2019, along the north bank of the Susquehanna River in Williamsport.
  • On September 16, 2019, a cadaver dog detected the smell of human remains in the charcoal bin inside a barn on the 300 block of Jordan Avenue in Montoursville.
  • That same day, human remains were found inside a wooden box inside a storage unit rented by Babcock in Philadelphia. Charcoal was found inside the wooden box.
  • An autopsy the following day determined that the corpse was mummified and bent at the waist. The legs had been separated from the rest of the body and were missing.

Authorities found the remains in a storage unit in Philadelphia after being directed there by Brenda Jones, who had lived with Babcock for four years, in Montoursville and Philadelphia.

First Assistant Public Defender Jeana A. Longo acknowledged that there had been various corpse abuses, but maintained that they were part of a single criminal action.

Evidence against Babcock includes an interview recorded by state police in which he said he killed Jacobs on December 26, 2003 in Montoursville and took the body with him when he moved to Philadelphia in April 2019.

Cavalier Joel Follmer at Babcock’s preliminary hearing gave this summary of his confession:

He and Jacobs were heavy drinkers over the holidays in 2003, they argued over losing their jobs and not being able to buy presents for the kids.

He hit her several times, she fell to the ground and did not get up, and he never called 911. When the body got cold, he wrapped her in a duvet and put her placed in a closet in the living room.

A few months later, he moved the body to a coal bin in a barn at the back of the Montoursville property where it remained until the house was sold on November 18, 2018.

He tried to put the remains in a wooden box his father used for ice fishing, but it didn’t fit, so he cut off the legs with a bow saw.

He moved the legless remains to a storage unit in Williamsport where they remained until April 2019, when he and Jones moved to Philadelphia using a rental truck.

The legs were thrown into the Susquehanna River from the Maynard Street Bridge in Williamsport. A fisherman found them at the edge of the river, 75 meters apart, a short distance downstream.

Longo on Tuesday asked the judge to stop the prosecution from presenting photographs of the victim that she says are so shocking and gruesome that they would inflame the passion of the jury and cause undue prejudice.

A hearing will be scheduled before the trial to discuss the matter.

The defense will not pursue a mental infirmity defense because no records have been found indicating Babcock was insane at the time, chief public defender Nicole J. Spring previously said.

Babcock remains jailed without bail.

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