Friends who looked out for Jo Beth Marchand described her as slightly mentally challenged but able to live on her own. When her mother died, they helped get an apartment, which she proudly kept tidy.
But in December 2011 they were alarmed when they couldn't reach her, so an apartment manager opened the apartment for them.
They found he body under a blanket, naked from the waste down.
These accounts marked the first day of testimony in the capital murder trial of James Wesley Brooks Jackson, accused of strangling Marchand in the course of sexually assaulting her and burglarizing her home.
The defendant was already known to police.
He was scheduled to go on trial on Nov. 14, 2011 on charges of robbery and attempted aggravated sexual assault but, on that day, charges were dismissed because the victim in the case, who had a history of mental illness, was in the hospital and was not competent to testify.
-- Bill Miller