Investigators offer more details in brutal Lowcountry murder

Crime & Safety

Theresa Coker was killed inside her home earlier this month. Jermaine Thurston has been charged with her murder

BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) – Authorities are releasing new details aobut the violent death of an elderly Lowcountry woman.

70-year-old Theresa Coker had just moved to her home on Polk Street two months before she was killed.

Beaufort Police now say Jermaine Thurston met her there, and took advantage of her kind nature, before killing her.

“It was determined it was a homicide and the manner of death was blunt force trauma and strangulation,” explained Beaufort Police Chief Matt Clancy.

Now Beaufort Police are offering more details about how he may have gotten to the woman, described as a pillar of the neighborhood.

42-year-old Jermaine Thurston apparently was looking for some work to earn money, according to investigators.

“Thurston was known to the victim and had performed yard work for her on at least one occasion,” said the chief. Investigators say that’s how he got access to Coker.

An autopsy showed she died late on October 2nd, but her body wasn’t found until Oct. 9.

“Some maintenance workers who went to replace a door on her residence discovered her,” said Beaufort Police Master Sgt. Charles Raley.

Detectives found Coker’s car in Seabrook, near where Thurston lived.

The 42-year-old Thurston, who has a lengthy criminal history, was just let out of prison 5 months before. He had been convicted of aggravated assault and kidnapping back in 2009.

Beaufort Police arrested him on a parole violation and waited for more evidence. The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Crime Lab used evidence from the scene to connect Thurston to the murder.

“W can speculate on it why he did it or what he was thinking but as you said any murder scene it’s a violent act, especially when you have an elderly woman who is minding her business in her own home, said Chief Clancy.

So far investigators say they have not determined a motive for Coker’s killing.

Beaufort Police give credit to the community for extra information which led them to Thurston.

He has been charged with murder and was denied bond. Thurston will be back in court on Jan. 24.

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