Victim’s grandson charged in 1998 cold case of elderly woman who was stabbed to death
PICAYUNE, Miss. (WLOX) - Next month marks 23 years since Leola Jordan was found brutally murdered in her home. The 91-year-old had been stabbed multiple times.
For more than two decades, police have worked to make an arrest in the case. On Sunday, her grandson, Sergio A. Williams, was officially taken into custody and charged with Jordan’s 1998 murder. The Picayune man is currently being held in the Pearl River County Jail.
“This is one of those cases in this city that has been alive and well for this 23 years,” said Picayune Police Chief Freddy Drennan, adding that it’s one of those cases that sticks with the officers investigating it.
Jordan raised seven kids and was well loved in the community, said Capt. Johnson.
Capt. Rhonda Johnson said she opened Jordan’s case up in October of last year and began reviewing old interviews with witnesses.
“I’ve always been fascinated with this case and said I would open it up one day,” she said.
With the assistance of the television show Cold Justice on the Oxygen network, the investigator was able to send off old DNA in March to a testing facility that could process it faster.
“They were able to bring some things that we just don’t have access to,” said Drennan.
That DNA, along with previous witness statements, gave police the evidence they needed to make the arrest, said authorities.
“If DNA would have been available like it is today back then, it would have been solved then,” said Johnson. “I’m just happy to be able to bring justice to Leola Jordan.”
Jordan was found dead in her home on Washington Street on June 30, 1998.
Picayune Assistant Chief of Police Jeremy Magri, who retired in 2019, told WLOX in 2014 that it was a brutal crime.
“It appears maybe she woke up and there was some type of altercation that occurred and possibly after whoever the suspect or suspects were, after they committed the gruesome crime, they fled the scene,” said Magri in 2014.
Magri was a rookie patrol officer at the time when he was dispatched to Jordan’s home. Magri said Jordan was found in her bed, covered in blood, dead from multiple stab wounds.
At the time, police said they believed the suspect went into Jordan’s house the front door. There was no forced entry, but family told police Jordan kept her door locked.
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