Hearings delayed for alleged killers of Laura Araujo and elderly couple

Jeremiah Jakson. Credit: PPD Jeremiah Jakson. Credit: PPD

Two preliminary hearings in ‘murder court’ for recent slayings were both adjourned this morning.

A preliminary hearing for Jeremiah Jakson, charged in the slaying of 23-year-old Laura Araujo, whose body was found stuffed in a bag on a desolate Kensington street in the early morning hours of Monday, July 14, was delayed until September to give time for his public defender and prosecutors to prepare their respective cases.

Jakson was a neighbor of Araujo’s at a rooming house where they both lived and is alleged to have strangled Araujo to death during a robbery.

Araujo’s body and her belongings, which were kept in her car, were found dumped on North 3rd Street near Susquehanna Avenue. Her car was found burning in South Philadelphia. Arson investigators who found the car later interviewed Jakson, who went to a hospital with a second-degree burns, and later arrested him in connection with Araujo’s death.

Homicide detectives said he told them he thought Araujo had money because she had a Toyota Rav4.

His preliminary hearing is now scheduled for September 17.

Justen Smith, left, and Terry Ballard, right. Credit: PPD Justen Smith, left, and Terry Ballard, right. Credit: PPD

Meanwhile, a hearing for Justen Smith, 19, and Terry Ballard, 25, charged with murdering an elderly couple in Strawberry Mansion during a robbery, was adjourned for a lineup to take place.

Smith and Ballard were hired by 79-year-old Rufus Perry, and his 66-year-old wife, Gladys Perry, to clean their home on the 2500 block of North Spangler Street for a small fee.

Instead, they allegedly strangled the couple to death, took an envelope containing $120 and a gold chain off Rufus’ neck.

Police investigating the murder found the two suspects around the corner from where the crime took place talking.

Smith and Ballard’s preliminary hearing is now scheduled for August 12.

More from our Sister Sites