Man charged in Julia Ann Mudgett's murder remains behind bars

Man charged in Julia Ann Mudgett's murder remains behind bars

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The 53-year-old man charged in the murder of 77-year-old Julia Ann Mudgett remains behind bars.

Bond was denied on Saturday for Jerry Lee Manigault charged with first-degree murder and first-degree burglary in connection with with Mudgett's death.

During Saturday's court hearing, he was called a 'danger to the community' and a flight risk. Manigault was originally arrested on Monday on charges of failing to re-register as a sex offender, and named as a suspect in Mudgett's case on Wednesday.

Investigators with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office announced Manigault's burglary and murder charges Friday night following the

not far from Mudgett's home. On Saturday afternoon, the Charleston County Coroner's Office confirmed that the body found was Julia Ann Mudgett and her cause of death blunt force trauma.

The coroner ruled her death as a homicide.

An affidavit released on Saturday provided more details on the Mudgett's disappearance and death.

Court records state that between the night of May 4 and May 6, Mudgett was struck numerous times on her body causing "substantial amount of blood loss" at her home on Toogoodoo Road.

Authorities say the attack is believed to have contributed to her death.

The sheriff's office responded to Mudgett's home on May 6 and found a broken glass pane window at the front door which authorities say enabled Manigault to gain entry into the home with the intent of harming Mudgett.

Deputies reported that the home appeared to have been ransacked with kitchen cabinets open and a large amount of blood on the floor and walls. Investigators also found Mudgett's breathing machine in the front room which was still operating.

Court records state Manigault removed Mudgett from her home to an undisclosed location. Authorities say when deputies arrived on scene, Mudgett's vehicle was also missing.  Investigators state they had received information from the community that Manigault had fled to Burton where family members resided.

The sheriff's office confirmed Mudgett's missing burgundy 2002 Hyundai Elantra was found around 4:30 p.m. Monday at a boat landing near the Coosawhatchie River in Jasper County. According to investigators, human blood was found in the trunk of the vehicle.

Bluffton police also believe Mudgett's disappearance is related to the homicide of a Bluffton woman. According to a Bluffton Police spokesman, the car belonging to Mudgett was spotted in Bluffton last weekend. Police in Bluffton are investigating the death of 70-year-old Polly Ann Mitchell, who was found in her home on Monday afternoon, as a homicide.

Capt. Joseph Manning said no suspects have been identified in the Mitchell case, but that there was a struggle in the home.

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