September 24, 2012

Accused murderer has a record of violence against women


The Ohio man accused of stabbing and strangling his former girlfriend while vacationing on Hatteras Island over the July 4th holiday had a record of violence with her and another young woman going back to 2004.

Nathan Summerfield, 27, a medical sleep technician from Ashland, Ohio, was arrested in August on a first-degree murder charge after Lynn Jackenheimer's body was found in a plastic bag off an isolated cul-de-sac in Frisco.

Summerfield disappeared for nearly six weeks before authorities found him in a motel room not far from Ashland. He was indicted by a Dare County grand jury earlier this month and has not yet entered a plea. But in a 911 call shortly after the slaying, his brother said that Summerfield had admitted killing Jackenheimer, 33.
Police records reveal that when a previous estranged girlfriend threatened to call her parents after repeatedly telling Summerfield to leave her room, he put his fist through two windows and slammed a door so hard it jammed shut.

As he left her house, he kicked out the window of her car. He was later arrested and charged with criminal damaging/endangering and criminal trespass.

Summerfield was then 18 years old.

The girl’s parents, Laura and Russell Stephens of Greenwich, Ohio, secured an order of protection to keep Summerfield away from their then- 16-year-old daughter, Kelly, according to reports provided by the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office. Over the next two years, Summerfield reportedly continued to call the parents and Kelly’s phone numbers, often hanging up when someone answered.

In May 2005, Laura Stephens told police that Summerfield was leaving messages, saying he was going to kill her husband. When police interviewed the family, Kelly admitted that she had been secretly dating Summerfield since that January, but they had broken up again. Summerfield later admitted to police that he had driven around a parking lot looking for Kelly, and had had a “heated” conversation with her father.
He was arrested and charged with menacing the parents.

About two weeks later, police received a call from Stephens saying Kelly had run away. After investigating, police found that she was with Summerfield. He was arrested for violation of the protection order.

More calls were made to the Stephens and to Kelly, and even her little sister, in late June and again in July and August, many of them hang-ups, according to police reports. But it is not clear whether there were any subsequent arrests.

In January 2008, Laura Stephens called police and reported that Summerfield was at a bar where she was located. When police arrived, he was told to leave.
Numerous attempts to reach the Stephenses and their daughter were unsuccessful, and their telephone numbers were unavailable.
Kelly Van Driest, formerly Kelly Stephens, is now married and a new mother, according to her Facebook page. The page includes links to several Facebook pages supporting Jackenheimer.
“I'm a feminist, no matter what others say,” she wrote on her MySpace page. “Women and men are still not treated equally . . . and I fight for the right that they should be!”

Van Driest, who went to nursing school, also talked about how close she is to her parents.

When Jackenheimer died, apparently while Leland, her 3-year-old son with Summerfield, and her 13-year-old daughter, Ciara, were sleeping, she was vacationing as a family in an effort to have a civil relationship with the father of her child, Lora Johnson, Lynn’s mother, said in a telephone interview.

“She thought that was working,” Johnson said. “She was trying to have a cordial relationship with him.”

In recent months, he was writing her letters saying he had changed and had learned a lot in the three years they’d been apart. But Jackenheimer made sure that the vacation cottage they rented had separate bedrooms, Johnson said, and she was not looking to rekindle any romance.
“Lynn hasn’t been with him since the last domestic violence,” she said. “She had a restraining order on him in 2009.”

According to a report from Ashland City Police, on Dec. 21 of that year, Jackenheimer called police to the house she had shared with Summerfield for two years, saying he had grabbed her by the throat and choked her. He then pushed her onto the kitchen table and pinned her down by her throat, pulling her to the floor and dragging her to the living room by her neck. Screaming at her to shut up so the kids wouldn’t hear them, he finally let go and left.
Jackenheimer also told the officer that “Nathan is usually quiet and nice to her,” but in the previous months he’d “been on edge and blows up for the smallest things” and she thought he was using steroids. 

In January, she said, he had pushed her out of the house when she was naked and locked the door. He thought she was cheating on him because of the time it took her to get back from a store.

“Victim said she is scared of the defendant,” the report said. “She said, ‘It’s hard telling what he would do to me.’ ”

Summerfield was arrested and charged with domestic violence. According to news reports, he was convicted, but his 60-day sentence was suspended.
Since then, Johnson said, she and her husband Raymond didn’t trust Summerfield. She and Lynn’s father broke up when Lynn was 2 years old, she said, and he moved to Texas.  In 2009, would send Lynn nasty letters, she said, followed by “Oh, I’m so sorry” letters.
Lynn didn’t know anything about his past arrests until months into the relationship, she said. 

“If you’re just running into him, not knowing the other side of him, he was just a quiet, shy guy,” Johnson said. “The other side? Very jealous, very controlling. Stalking.

“My daughter had to keep changing her password. He was very aggressive and violent.”

Jackenheimer also had some rough times with her ex-husband, Ciara’s father.

In 2003, Jackenheimer called police and reported that her ex-husband, Matthew Sheppard, had thrown clothes in her face and verbally assaulted her during a child visitation exchange of their daughter. Sheppard told police that they were throwing the items at each other. Police advised them to avoid confrontation while exchanging the child, and no charges were filed.

Records show that police were called again in 2007 over a physical argument between the couple, where family members found them rolling on the floor. Both accused the other of hitting, but neither one wanted to file charges.

Johnson said her daughter was a devoted, loving mother. That’s why she thought the worst when Summerfield came back from North Carolina with the children, and no Lynn -- “because she wouldn’t let her kids go home without her.”

Although she has a mild form of autism, Johnson said, Ciara has been able to talk about some details. While they were at the vacation house, she said that Summerfield kept telling her to go ask her mother if she loved him.

“For the most part, she only knows what happened after the fact,” Johnson said.
The night she was killed, Jackenheimer went ghost crab hunting on the beach with the children, then they went to bed. When Ciara woke up, her mother wasn’t there.

Summerfield told her that Jackenheimer had drank two bottles of wine and ran off to the ocean. He said he was going to take Leland with him to go look for their mother.
Johnson said that Summerfield had wanted to send Ciara back to Ohio on a plane or a bus, but she was too young. She now lives with the Johnsons, and Summerfield’s parents are challenging them for custody of Leland.

A lifelong resident of Ashland, Jackenheimer worked several jobs so she could take care of her children. Johnson said she was planning to go to school to become a radiologist.

By nature, she said, her daughter always tried to see the good in people. But she overestimated Summerfield.

“She just honestly didn’t think he was capable of going that far,” Johnson said. “She has a trusting heart --- unfortunately.”

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