1991 cold case murder suspect pleads guilty, sentenced

Published: Sep. 10, 2014 at 2:05 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 10, 2014 at 7:31 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn
John Duncan
John Duncan

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A man accused in a 1991 cold case murder pled guilty and was sentenced on Wednesday morning.

Joseph Howard Jeffrey, 44, pled guilty to murdering John Duncan in the 137th District Court.

Jeffrey was charged in the murder of Duncan February 16, 1991 on Tuesday.

Court documents state Jeffrey hit Duncan with a hard object, causing his death.

Police say Duncan's body was discovered after fire crews responded to a house fire at his residence on 37th Street.

His body was found with trauma to his head and genitals. His feet had been severed.

Jeffrey was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Jeffrey is currently serving a life sentence for a causing serious bodily injury while driving under the influence in September 2007.

The 40-year sentence will run concurrent to his life sentence.

Lubbock police released some new details about this case on Wednesday afternoon:

On February 16, 1991, the Lubbock Fire Department responded to a structure fire at 3404 37th Street here in Lubbock, TX. One deceased male was located inside the residence and later identified as John Duncan. During the investigation the manner of death was ruled a homicide.

During the homicide investigation it was found that Joseph Jeffrey was employed by the victim. As additional evidence and information was obtained, Mr. Jeffrey became a suspect in the case.

An extensive investigation was conducted, but failed to yield sufficient probable cause to charge Mr. Jeffrey with the homicide. The case was rendered “cold” but regularly reviewed since then by LPD Homicide Detectives for additional evidence and leads.

In July, 2014, Mr. Jeffrey was serving a life sentence for an unrelated offense in a south Texas prison. Mr. Jeffrey made contact with one of the original LPD Detectives from the case and admitted to killing Mr. Duncan back in 1991. Mr. Jeffrey was brought to the Lubbock County Jail, where he was provided a court-appointed attorney.

On August 27, 2014, Mr. Jeffrey was interviewed by LPD Detectives. Mr. Jeffrey's statement contained specific details about the homicide and crime scene, which were corroborated by existing evidence and by law enforcement. The case was then presented to the District Attorney's office.

This morning, Mr. Jeffrey pled guilty in open court to the homicide in 1991 and accepted the 40 year sentence recommended by the Criminal District Attorney's Office.

RELATED STORY: New charges filed in 1991 cold case murder

Copyright 2014 KCBD. All rights reserved.