The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

November 19, 2012

Murder suspect returned to Somerset County

David Hurst
dhurst@tribdem.com

— The Meyersdale-area man accused of killing his girlfriend and burying her body near a hiking trail is behind bars in Somerset County.

Jonathan Beal, 23, was placed in Somerset County Jail on Saturday after being returned to Somerset, where he is charged with homicide, abuse of a corpse and aggravated assault in the death of 19-year-old Justine Jackson.

Beal was arraigned on his charges during the weekend, with no bail set because he is charged with criminal homicide.

Beal faces a Nov. 26 preliminary hearing before District Judge Douglas Bell.

Jackson had been living in the Meyersdale area and was reported missing in late October, police said.

Jackson’s body was found by a hiker Nov. 11 alongside the Great Allegheny Passage hiking trail.

Investigators say Beal strangled her to death and then left her in a shallow grave.

U.S. marshals and other authorities in Louisiana found Beal hiding in a home’s bathroom on Wednesday, and he was taken into custody without incident.

It is unknown whether Beal has hired an attorney.

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