Man charged in Spurling murder appears in court

34-year-old Zack Jefferson was charged for first degree murder and armed criminal action.

FAYETTE, Mo. - An Excello man, charged in the August 2011 murder of Jon Spurling, made his first court appearance Thursday in Howard County.

34-year-old Zack Jefferson is charged with first degree murder and armed criminal action.

Three years ago, Spurling was found dead inside his home in Harrisburg.

At the time, investigators told ABC 17 News it appeared Spurling had walked in on a crime happening at his home.

They now believe that is not the case.

Jefferson and Spurling had both been married to the same woman at different times.

According to court documents, that woman told investigators that Jefferson, her most recent husband, had always been jealous of Spurling.

One of Jefferson's friends told investigators that the same day Spurling was killed, Jefferson told her he thought his wife was cheating on him with Spurling.

"Without giving away too many details it's about connecting the dots and having this piece of evidence and that piece of evidence coming back to this guy," said Howard County Sheriff Mike Neal.

As of now, Neal believes Jefferson acted alone but said the case is far from being over.

Court documents say three different neighbors saw Jefferson's car near Spurling's home the day of the murder.

According to those same documents investigators were told about Jefferson's fake Facebook account.

Later, it was discovered that he would use that account to talk to his wife about her relationship with him and Spurling. She had no idea Jefferson was behind the fake account.

Within days after those Facebook messages, Spurling was killed.

For years the Spurling family has been waiting for some sort of justice in this case.

Family members tell ABC 17 News they always had a feeling it was something more than just Jon being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

They feel closure, but said the pain will never go away.

Jon's father Harold Spurling said, "It was a great relief and it's been hard knowing someone out there could do something like this and be out there running around free. It's been a long wait but we knew the sheriff was working on it."

Sheriff Mike Neal said while Jefferson was a suspect at the beginning of the investigation it took time to make sure they had enough evidence to charge him.

Investigators interviewed Jefferson Wednesday, concluding that his alibi was completely different than in 2011. Sheriff Neal believes they have the right

ABC 17 News confirmed Thursday that Jefferson was a former corrections officer in Moberly for eight years.

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