Murder in Painseville: Could court ruling help cops' case against Tyrone Jeffries?

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It’s hardly a secret that prosecutors and police in Painesville believe Tyrone Jeffries got away with murder. Tyrone’s wife, Jennifer, brought 21-year-old Dustin Spaller to a park on the night of December 3, 2001, supposedly to arrange a crack deal between the boy and her husband. Just hours later, a fisherman discovered Dustin’s lifeless body, beaten and shot to death (Read Scene's full story, "The Quick and the Dead," here). The case seemed open and shut, considering Tyrone’s ex-girlfriend had seen him on the night of the murder, all cut up like he’d been in a fight. The motive was there too: Tyrone had a vicious jealous streak, and he’d seen Jennifer cozying up to Dustin in a bar earlier that night. The only thing stopping prosecutors from bringing charges was Jennifer herself, whose version of events seemed to change like the seasons. ... First, she told police that she and Dustin had been robbed by a group of strange men. Then she flip-flopped and said Tyrone had shot Dustin in a fit of jealous rage. Still, a polygraph showed she was holding something back. Prosecutors finally threw up their hands and charged her as an accomplice. If they couldn’t get Tyrone, they figured, at least somebody was going to pay. Jennifer was convicted of murder and sentenced to 22 years to life. But the case is far from closed. Last July, an appeals court threw out Jennifer’s conviction, reasoning that a Lake County judge erred by allowing Jennifer’s polygraph results to be admitted as evidence. Prosecutors appealed, and now the Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case. Authorities in Painesville hope that, with more light being shed on the case, someone else may finally come forward with evidence against Tyrone. -- Jared Klaus

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