Updated:SOMERSET, Pa. —
Five different witnesses testified Friday at a preliminary hearing for a man accused of strangling his girlfriend to death and then running across the country last year.
Investigators said Jonathan Beal strangled 19-year-old Justine Jackson and then buried her in a shallow grave.
Officials said her remains were found in Somerset County along the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail after she was missing for more than a month.
At Beal’s preliminary hearing on Friday five people who knew him and Jackson told the judge that he bragged about her murder.
The witnesses testified about what they heard and saw regarding Jackson’s disappearance.
Jennifer Fullem told the judge that Beal confessed his crime to her, and told her he kicked Jackson repeatedly in the head and then buried her.
“As for Jonathan, I hope he learned a lesson. I know he’s guilty whether he wants to accept it or not,” Fullem said.
During Fullem’s testimony, Jackson’s family listened from the front row of the court.
“He went around Meyersdale telling everybody that he killed her. The next thing you know, we found a poor girl’s body in the woods. There’s no denying it,” Fullem said.
Beal remains in the Somerset County Jail.