PERU — A 54-year-old Mississippi man pleaded guilty Thursday to killing Toni Spicer, a 27-year-old mother found beaten and strangled to death inside her Miami County trailer in 1992.
Timothy J. Jimerson, 54, D’Iberville, Miss., entered the guilty plea as part of a bargain that reduced the initial charge of murder to voluntary manslaughter with a deadly weapon.
The guilty plea was part of the concluding chapters of a cold case that had stumped police for 20 years before Jimerson was arrested in 2012 in Mississippi.
The story began in August 1992 when Spicer’s friend and two children, then 9 and 7 years old, found their mother dead at their home in Maple Lawn Village Trailer Court, just north of the Howard-Miami county line.
Spicer had been beaten about the head, face and chest, and an autopsy determined she had been strangled to death.
The night of the killing, Spicer had been working at the Hip Hugger strip club in Kokomo as a dancer. A probable cause affidavit says Jimerson was at the bar that night, and followed her to her home.
Jimerson lived across the street from Spicer from 1990 until at least 1994, the affidavit says.
Miami County Prosecutor Bruce Embrey said Jimerson had been drinking and taking pills before he entered Spicer’s trailer, and apparently got angry about something before strangling her to death.
Police conducted a very thorough and detailed investigation of the crime scene, including taking blood samples, Embrey said, but the evidence never pointed to a suspect.
Police actively investigated the cold case over the years, but potential leads always dead ended.
That changed in 2011 when a DNA match consistent with Jimerson was found through the National DNA Database.
Jimerson had served eight months in a Mississippi prison in 2010 for a felony DUI conviction, where police took samples of his DNA.