August 21, 2012

Murder suspect makes first appearance in Dare County court


By CATHERINE KOZAK

With hunched shoulders and a meek expression, accused murderer Nathan  J. Summerfield made his first appearance today in Dare County District Court. 

Under questioning by Dare County District Judge Edgar Barnes, Summerfield  affirmed that he received a copy of  the warrant charging him with first-degree murder for killing Lynn Jackenheimer “with malice and forethought” on or about July 4, 2012, while they were vacationing on Hatteras Island.

Jackenheimer, his former girlfriend and the mother of his 3-year-old son, was found dead in Frisco on July 14. Summerfield had fled, dropping off his son and Jackenheimer’s 13-year-old daughter with relatives in Ohio before disappearing.

An autopsy determined she died of strangulation and stab wounds.

The 27-year-old Ashland, Ohio man was arrested on Aug. 15 by law enforcement officers without incident in a motel room about 30 miles from Ashland.  He subsequently waived extradition and was brought to the Dare County Detention Center early Saturday morning.
 
In a telephone interview today, U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott in Northern Ohio said that Summerfield apparently did not expect to see agents entering the room at about 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

“He acted surprised,” Elliott said.

Elliott said that the task force led by the marshal’s office is still investigating why Summerfield was in Ohio and whether anyone was harboring him or assisting him in evading police.

“We’re following up on all that now,” he said.

A number of law enforcement personnel from the Dare County Sheriff’s Office were in the courtroom when Summerfield, wearing an orange jumpsuit, was led to the defense table and seated next to Andy Womble, 1st District Public Defender.

It appeared that the facial hair Summerfield had grown while on the run had been trimmed considerably, and his hair was also closely cropped.

Barnes asked the defendant how long he had been unemployed.

“Over a month,” he responded.

In saying that Summerfield was eligible for a court-appointed attorney, Barnes appointed Womble “for the time being” to represent Summerfield.

While police were searching for Summerfield, hundreds of tips were provided from Ohio, North Carolina, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Illinois, according to a press release last week from the U.S. Marshals office. Summerfield’s photo had been published in local and national media, and also on digital billboards in several states.

Elliott declined to say what led the task force to the Legacy Inn & Suites in Wadsworth, Ohio, where the suspect had checked in under an assumed name the night before. He also said that it is still being investigated exactly where, when, and how Summerfield traveled while evading capture.

Summerfield is being held without bond at the Dare County Detention Center in Manteo. Sheriff Doug Doughtie said that there are no special considerations being taken for him.

"He hasn't been a minute of problem since we brought him back," the sheriff said outside the courtroom.

The case will go to the Dare County Grand Jury on Sept. 10.

According to his profile on the social networking site LinkedIn, Summerfield was a polysomnographic technician at the Cleveland Clinic. According to the profile, he graduated 2004 from Ashland High School, where he was a member of the National Honor Society and a star football player. He also is a graduate of the Oregon Institute of Technology, where he got a bachelor’s degree in health management.  

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

UPDATE: Summerfield will return to Dare to face charges tonight or tomorrow
UPDATE: Summerfield extradition hearing is Friday
UPDATE: Man accused of murdering Ohio woman on Hatteras is captured
UPDATE: Authorities still searching for murder suspect
UPDATE: Ohio mother of two died of strangulation and stab wounds


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