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Alabama jury convicts serial killing suspect in rape, murder

MOBILE (AP) — Serial killing suspect Jeremy Bryan Jones was convicted Wednesday of capital murder in the 2004 rape and shooting death of a Mobile County woman attacked in her home during a hurricane blackout.

A jury convicted the Oklahoma man of rape, burglary, sexual abuse and kidnapping during capital murder. The verdict opens the door for Jones to be prosecuted in separate slayings in Georgia and New Orleans, and possibly 10 other killings, according to investigators.

Jurors deliberated about two hours in reaching the verdict. Today, jurors will recommend either death or life in prison without parole. Circuit Judge Charles Graddick, who is not bound by the jury's recommended penalty, will sentence Jones later.

In statements to authorities, Jones, 32, of Miami, Okla., admitted killing Lisa Marie Nichols, 44, of rural Turnerville on Sept. 17, 2004 while high on methamphetamines. But his version of that night changed three months ago with the death of the victim's neighbor.

Jones shifted the blame to the neighbor, saying the two of them together entered the victim's home.

Jones showed no emotion as the verdicts were read. Nichols' daughter, Jennifer Murphy, and other family members wept quietly.

Murphy said she will always have a "place in my heart" for the attorney general's office and the sheriff's office who brought Jones to justice.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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