UPDATE: Christine Sheddy Murder Case Finally Put To Rest - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

UPDATE: Christine Sheddy Murder Case Finally Put To Rest

Posted: Updated:
Lynn Dodenhoff Lynn Dodenhoff
Riverhouse Inn Bed and Breakfast Riverhouse Inn Bed and Breakfast

SNOW HILL, Md. - A five-year-long cold case comes to a close in Worcester County. Two suspects involved in the murder of Christine Sheddy agreed to a plea deal on Thursday.

Sheddy's family can now find some comfort in knowing that all three individuals involved in her murder are being held accountable.

"I'm just very happy with the outcome we can put closure to this and go on," Sheddy's mother Lynn Dodenhoff said.

38-year-old Clarence Jackson and 32-year-old Tia Johnson now join Justin Hadel behind bars for their involvement in Christine Sheddy's murder. Hadel was convicted in 2011 and was sentenced to life without parole. Jackson was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison, and will serve 30 of those years locked up. Johnson, was convicted of accessory after the fact and third degree burglary. She was sentenced to a maximum of 15 years, and will serve 7.5 years behind bars.

"It's kind of bittersweet. You can never really account for the loss of life, but considering all individuals were held accountable, we're very satisfied with that," Worcester County State's Attorney Beau Oglesby said.

The 26-year-old mother of three was staying as a guest in a house on Byrd Road in Pocomoke back in 2007. When she went missing on November 13th, an extensive search ensued with negative results. It was more than two years later when police finally found her body behind the Riverhouse Inn Bed and Breakfast in Snow Hill after Jackson disclosed the location of the body to police. " Mr. Jackson was incarcerated on unrelated charges in the state of Tennessee. He attempted to garner favorable treatment. Basically he wanted to get out of Tennessee and be brought back to Maryland. And what he used as leverage was his knowledge of where Christine Sheddy was buried. That information was made known to law enforcement who went down and interviewed him. During that interview, he disclosed the location of the body of Christine Sheddy, and that's how we were able to find her. I firmly believe that if he were not trying to get some personal benefit out of this, we still would not know where Christine was buried," Oglesby said.

Both Hadel and Jackson beat Sheddy to death with a blunt object. The medical examiner's office reported a minimum of three blows were inflicted to her face and torso - they ruled the cause of death: blunt force trauma. She suffered extensive skull and rib fractures. "We were able to piece together that Mr. Jackson and Mr. Hadel together murdered Ms. Sheddy. And subsequent to her murder, the three of them including Ms. Johnson, conspired to rebury the body. It was located at the Byrd Road residence which was, I suppose, a little too close for comfort. The decision was made to remove the body from that location to Snow Hill to the bed and breakfast," Oglesby said.

Hadel and Jackson reportedly put Sheddy's body in the trunk of Johnson's car. Johnson then drove the car to the bed and breakfast with her two young children in the vehicle. "Both Mr. Jackson and Ms. Johnson used to work at the bed and breakfast. They had intimate knowledge of the bed and breakfast, when people would actually be staying there, when they wouldn't be staying there, and so they used that knowledge to determine that would be an appropriate place for them to take Christine Sheddy's body to bury her there. What happened was they broke into one of the vacant units on the property and then using that as a base of operations for the ultimate reburial of Christine Sheddy, she was reburied just within several feet of the building that they were staying in," Oglesby said.

We're told the motive behind the gruesome act came out of a relationship between Sheddy and Jackson. "Part of the theory of our case was that there was a relationship between the two and that relationship was part of the motive for her homicide. Ms. Johnson did not know about the relationship, there was some discussion about disclosing that relationship, and Mr. Jackson took issue with that," Oglesby said.

WMDT spoke with Johnson's family who blames Jackson for ruining Tia's life. "He not only took Christine's life, he took my sister's life. My sister was never in any trouble until she hooked up with him," Johnson's brother Stephen Johnson Jr. said.

Both Johnson and Jackson addressed statements of apology to Lynn and Sheddy's family and friends in court. Jackson said "I am deeply sorry from the bottom of my heart and I hope that one day you can forgive me for that."

Sheddy's mother says she is forever grateful to police and the state's attorney's office and believes justice was served. "I've got three grandchildren that needs to be raised and that's what we're going to do," she said.

Oglesby congratulated investigators and Sheddy's mother in bringing the case to a close. "Cold cases are the most difficult to deal with. The evidence often times has gone stale - peoples' memories have lapsed over the period of several years. The efforts of law enforcement and the tenacity of Lynn Dodenhoff, are the absolute reason this case was solved and why three people are convicted and have been held accountable," he said.

 

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