Tama woman charged with murder of daughter-in-law - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Tama woman charged with murder of daughter-in-law

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TAMA (KWWL) -

A woman in Tama stands accused of murdering her daughter-in-law.

Ginger Jefferson, 57, of Toledo is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 32-year-old Kerry O’Clair-Jefferson.

O’Clair-Jefferson’s body was found at her home in Tama Wednesday afternoon.

She was discovered by a Tama police officer, who was there on an unrelated call.

When Jefferson was first brought before a judge Friday, her expression was blank. Media and family members packed the small county courtroom because the stakes are high – Jefferson could face life in prison without parole if convicted.

In the criminal complaint filed Friday, Chief Jeff Filloon wrote that he believed the killing was "willful, deliberate and premeditated."

Previously, the State Medical Examiner identified the cause of death as "sharp force injuries to the neck."

Jefferson was initially brought into custody as a material witness, but authorities announced the break in the case Friday morning.

“An arrest warrant was obtained last night for Ginger Jefferson and was executed this morning around 10 a.m.,” said Bill Kietzman of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations. “She has now been charged with murder in the first degree for the death of her daughter-in-law, Kerry (O’Clair-)Jefferson."

Just a few hours after Kietzman made the announcement, Jefferson was in front of a judge.

Her time in court was brief. She acknowledged the charges against her with a quiet, “Yes sir,” and then her bond was set at $1 million – only payable in cash.

Outside the courthouse, family members reacted to a whirlwind day. Jefferson’s other daughter-in-law said both sides of the family plan to stick together.

"Every family has little tiffs here and there, but we're family,” said Laurie Davenport. “We all love each other, and we'll all make it."

As for a motive in this murder, police said they can’t discuss it at this point. Family members are at a loss as well.

"We don't know,” Davenport said. ”We're still numb, we're all pretty numb."

But whatever the reason, one woman is dead, and a small town is left wondering why.

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