WASHINGTON COUNTY, Pa. - The Washington County district attorney announced Tuesday that he will seek the death penalty against the man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend earlier this year.
More than three dozen family members and friends of Karissa Kunco were outside the courtroom with signs reading, "We are Karissa's army" as Jordan Clemons appeared in court for his formal arraignment.
Clemons is accused of slitting Kunco's throat and leaving her to die in a Washington County field in January.
The criminal complaint stated that hours before Kunco's body was found, Clemons used her credit card to buy an Xbox video game system at a South Strabane Walmart.
It was Jan. 12 when Kunco's crashed car was found in Cecil Township with blood on the floor and backseat. Hours later, workers found her naked body five miles away in Mount Pleasant, covered in leaves.
“I miss Karissa every day. Every day,” Kunco’s stepsister Jamie Khalil said while supporting Kunco.
District Attorney Gene Vittone said there were several aggravating circumstances that allowed him to seek the death penalty. Kunco’s father, Paul Kunco, is glad Vittone is seeking the death penalty.
Kunco said the support of family and friends has helped him deal with his daughter’s death.
“It’s an amazing group of friends that are just one. They stick together as one, and if it wasn’t for them them, I would personally be worse than I am right now,” Kunco said. “But when the guy who killed your daughter is within 10 feet of you, it’s tough. I wouldn’t wish that upon anybody.”
Kathy Kunco-Makowski, Karissa’s mother, said the family is working on projects to educate young girls on domestic violence.
“If it wasn’t for them, I don’t think I’d be able to be here today,” Kunco-Makowski said about the support of friends and family. “They actually keep me positive and keep my spirits up.”
Clemons did not comment when he left the courthouse after pleading not guilty.