Deputies charge two in murder

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 2, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – Deputies charged two neighbors Friday in connection with the death of a Concordia Parish woman found early Monday inside her burning trailer.

Stephen Alfred Jackson, 34, of 133 Donald Drive in Vidalia, was charged Friday morning with first-degree murder, aggravated arson and armed robbery. He was already in jail on an unrelated charge of forgery. He is being held at the Concordia Parish Correctional Facility extension on $1,202,500 bond.

Autopsy results showed Linda Merritt McClanahan, 54, of 127 Donald Drive, was beaten with a blunt instrument and stabbed several times before the trailer in which she was living was set on fire, apparently to cover up the crime.

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The apparent motive was robbery, said Sheriff Randy Maxwell. &uot;Jackson knew the victim and had borrowed money from her several times previously to purchase narcotics,&uot; he said. &uot;We believe that he went there to rob her and wound up murdering her.&uot;

Jackson’s girlfriend, 18-year-old Elizabeth A. Mohon, also of 133 Donald Drive, was charged with accessory after the fact to first-degree murder, aggravated arson and armed robbery. Bond was set at $50,000 for Mohon, who was released later Friday by Judge Leo Boothe on a personal surety bond.

Mohon’s role in the incident is thought to be minor, Maxwell said. &uot;We think she provided (Jackson) with transportation … to his mother’s house and several other places,&uot; he said.

A passing motorist spotted McClanahan’s burning trailer just before 4 a.m. Monday at Donald’s Camper Village. Her body was later found in the trailer she was renting from another family.

Maxwell confirmed that several pieces of evidence linked Jackson to the crime but would not elaborate on the type of evidence.

He also said Jackson has a long criminal history that includes arrests and convictions on drug charges and charges of driving while intoxicated, livestock theft and livestock killings. Mohon did not have a criminal record.

The sheriff highly commended Sheriff’s Office investigators Jimmy Darden and Dennis Cowan, along with District Attorney’s Investigator Johnny Loomis, for their work on the case.

&uot;They’ve worked nonstop on this since Monday morning, putting in 14 to 16 hours a day,&uot; Maxwell said. &uot;This had the potential to be an extremely difficult case to solve, but they were determined to crack it and they did it quickly and professionally.&uot;

Maxwell also expressed appreciation to the Louisiana Fire Marshal’s Office and to the Natchez Police Department for their crime scene assistance.