September 15, 2014

Trial will be Feb. 2 for man accused
in 2012 murder on Hatteras


A trial date for the Ohio man accused of killing his former girlfriend while visiting Hatteras Island two years ago was announced Monday in Dare County Superior Court.

Nathan Summerfield, 29, of Ashland, is charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing and strangling death of Lynn Jackenheimer, whose body was found in the grass off a Frisco cul-de-sac on July 14, 2012. He pleaded not guilty, and his trial is scheduled for Feb. 2.

Jackenheimer, 33, also of Ashland, had last been seen the night of July 3, when she was hunting ghost crabs with her two children.

Wearing an ill-fitting orange jumpsuit, with his dark hair and beard clipped short, Summerfield was led into the courtroom, where he sat hunch-shouldered between his defense attorneys, Jackson Warmack and Samuel Dixon, both from Edenton.

The defense team had filed motions with the court, most of them seeking disclosure of information from the state. Dixon said later that the 30 motions were made to protect the constitutional rights of his client, and he expects that more will be filed.  

Summerfield listened attentively as special prosecutor H.P. Williams from Elizabeth City addressed Superior Court Judge J.C. Cole, telling him that the prosecution consented to recordation of all proceedings and agreed that pre-trial motions will be heard on Dec. 8 before Superior Court Judge Jerry Tillett, who is expected to try the case in February.

Williams was appointed to the case after the death last year of then-District Attorney Frank Parrish and the subsequent appointment of his replacement, Andrew Womble.
Womble, the district’s former Public Defender, had briefly represented Summerfield.  Williams had been the District Attorney prior to Parrish.

Both sides consented on Monday to submit all discovery to the court by Jan. 5.

Responding to Cole, Summerfield said he had no questions for the court.

Summerfield, then 27, had been vacationing on Hatteras Island with Jackenheimer, the mother of his 3-year-old son, during the July 4 week. After Jackenheimer disappeared, Summerfield left the Outer Banks with his son and Jackenheimer’s 13-year-old daughter and dropped them off with family in Ohio.

He then fled. After a five-week manhunt, he was found in an Ohio motel room. On Aug. 15, he was arrested and later extradited to North Carolina, where he has been held without bond at Dare County Detention Center in Manteo.
Summerfield, who worked as a medical sleep technician, has a criminal record that includes a domestic violence offense against Jackenheimer in 2009.

The state has decided that Jackenheimer’s killing does not meet the standard for a capital murder.

In a 2012 interview, Jackenheimer’s mother, Lora Johnson, said that her daughter had been working on having a cordial relationship with Summerfield for the benefit of their son, but had no intention of rekindling a romantic relationship.

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