Jeffery Sauerbry, accused of killing Summer Shipp in 2004, was found not guilty in her murder.
Arguments in the case again Jeffrey Sauerbry got underway on Wednesday, April 20. Jurors will decide if Sauerbry is guilty of killing Summer Shipp, 54, and dismembering her body in 2004.
Fishermen found Shipp's body along the Little Blue River nearly three years after she disappeared while conducting door-to-door surveys. Witnesses say they last saw Shipp in an Independence neighborhood talking to Sauerbry, where he lived.Tweets by @SarahPlakeTV
Rick Brown lived a few homes down from Sauerbry then and still remembers the investigation. “It was pretty chaotic, the car had been sitting down there for several days and then someone reported an abandoned car and then when they discovered it was hers, that’s when they started searching.”
Brown said investigators searched all the homes on College Terrace, including his own.
Prosecutors charged Sauerbry in 2012 after years of running into dead ends. Court records show he admitted to a friend that he strangled Shipp, slit her throat and dismembered her body because he thought she was a spy.
Sauerbry's defense attorney, John Picerno, says the state doesn't have any clear evidence to tie him to the murder.
"The problem with the witness is the witness is off on the facts and the manner of death. He's a multiple time convicted felon and he's off on when the confession allegedly took place," Picerno told 41 Action News Monday.
The case generated lots of media attention, with Shipp's family and numerous friends leading the crusade to find her killer.
"The suspicions were there, the media was there, there were various newspaper articles, lots of theories floating around out there about it," Picerno said. "[Jeff] is finally glad to have his day in court where he can address the allegations and show people that this didn't occur and he didn't do it."
Sarah Plake can be reached at Sarah.Plake@KSHB.com
Shannon Halligan can be reached at email@example.com.