Man charged in Julia Ann Mudgett's murder faces more charges

Man charged in Julia Ann Mudgett's murder faces more charges

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A 53-year-old man charged in the murder of Julia Ann Mudgett is facing more charges in the 77-year-old woman's death.

Officials with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office announced on Monday afternoon that Jerry Lee Manigault has been charged with kidnapping and strong armed robbery. This is in addition to the murder and first-degree burglary charges that Manigault is already facing in Mudgett's death.

Affidavits on the new charges state that between May 4 and May 6, Manigault physically assaulted Mudgett with an unknown object repeatedly on her head and torso causing serious injury. Court records state that Mudgett had sustained blunt force trauma to the head and body at the time of her discovery.

According to investigators, Manigault stole Mudgett's vehicle following the assault.

CCSO authorities say between May 4 and May 7, Manigault was seen with Mudgett's car on numerous occasions at various locations in Bluffton. Authorities cite witnesses who saw Manigault in the car, and positively identified Manigault through photo line-ups.

Manigault is scheduled to have a bond hearing on the kidnapping and strong armed robbery charges on Tuesday morning.

Bond was denied on Saturday for Manigault on the murder and burglary charges.

Manigault was originally arrested on May 12 on charges of failing to re-register as a sex offender, and named as a suspect in Mudgett's case on May 14 .

Investigators with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office announced Manigault's burglary and murder charges Friday night following the investigation into a body that was found on Toogoodoo Road 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 was blunt trauma.

The coroner ruled her death as a homicide.

An affidavit released on Saturday provided more details on 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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