Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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March 10, 2013

Trial set in cold-case murder

Timothy Jimerson accused of slaying young mother

— PERU — A trial date has been set for Timothy J. Jimerson, who is accused of murdering a 27-year-old mother inside her Miami County trailer in 1992.

Jimerson, 53, will face a jury trial the week of Sept. 9. Miami County Circuit Court Judge Tim Spahr set the date after meeting Thursday with attorneys and prosecutors for a pre-trial hearing.

Indiana State Police arrested Jimerson in October after a DNA match in 2011 led detectives to the suspect at his home in D’Iberville, Miss.

The arrest stemmed from incidents on Aug. 29, 1992, when Toni Spicer, who worked as dancer at a Kokomo strip club, was found dead by her two children, then aged 9 and 7, and a friend inside her home in Maple Lawn Village Trailer Court, just north of the Howard-Miami county line.

An autopsy revealed she had been strangled to death, and beaten about the head, face and chest.

Police actively investigated the more than 20-year-old cold case, but leads over the years ultimately dead-ended. Twice before, detectives submitted DNA samples for testing with no results.

But in June 2011, 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.

According to court documents, Jimerson lived across the street from Spicer at the trailer park from 1990 until at least 1994.

The night of her death, Spicer was working at the Hiphugger strip club as a dancer. A probable cause affidavit states Jimerson was also at the strip club that night, but the details leading up to her death were redacted from the document.

Detectives interviewed Jimerson in October in Biloxi, where he stated he was responsible for the death of Spicer, according to court documents.

Jimerson was extradited from Mississippi to Peru in November, and is currently being held at the Miami County Jail.

Miami County Prosecutor Bruce Embrey said last year the detailed and thorough crime-scene investigation in 1992 was a major factor in the DNA match being made.

He said a DNA match alone isn’t sufficient in most cases to identify a suspect as the perpetrator of a crime, but detectives spent the next few months after the DNA match investigating Jimerson and strategizing with prosecutors.

Embrey said he credits the arrest of Jimerson to the hard work of detectives, the officers involved in the original investigation and the cooperation of police in Biloxi.

The case was profiled by Crime Stoppers in 2001. In 2010, Indiana State Police and the Department of Corrections released a pack of cold-case playing cards featuring Spicer on a card to jar inmates’ memories and perhaps lead to clues in the unsolved case.

Carson Gerber is a Kokomo Tribune reporter. He may be reached at 765-854-6739, or by email at carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com.

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