Martinsburg Man Arrested in Berkeley County Murder

- MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Martinsburg man was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon, charged  in the death of 72 year-old Martha Tyler who was found murdered inside her Martinsburg home Saturday.

According to Berkeley County Sheriff Kenny Lemaster, William Jackson was charged with first degree murder Tuesday afternoon.  Sheriff Lemaster said Jackson was initially arrested for fraudulent use of a credit card.  

"Numerous hours of video tape and video footage was examined we were able to capture Mr. Jackson using Mrs. Tyler's bank card and at which point in time we filed charges against Mr. Jackson for fraudulent use of a credit card," said Sgt. Ted Snyder, lead investigator at the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office. 

Jackson was taken to the Sheriff's Office for questioning where he admitted that he knew Tyler and had been doing odd jobs around her house. 

Jackson told investigators he was suffering from drug withdrawals and blacked out while he was with Tyler. He said he later woke up and found Tyler with a plastic bag over her head.

"He was a habitual heroine and cocaine user," said Snyder. "He was suffering the after affects of the use of that drug and consequentially he advised that he had blacked out he was really unsure of some of the details of the circumstances regarding the responsibility for the death." 

After further investigation, it was determined there was enough evidence to charge him with first degree murder in the case.

Tyler was found dead with a bag over her head and her hands tied behind her back Saturday afternoon by her daughter.  Monday, investigators released the results of her autopsy.  She died from ligature strangulation and smothering.

Police haven't found a clear motive for her death but investigators hope the arrest can give closure to the community and the Tyler family.

"There's still follow ups, there's still evidence to compare at the laboratory but you know for the most part it gives closure to at least knowing who has you know committed this crime. Hopefully it'll give closure to the family and the community especially the neighborhood in which the victim lived," said Sheriff Kenny Lemaster, Berkeley County Sheriff's Office. 

Police said there were no signs of forced entry at her home, but that two weeks ago, Tyler's back door was kicked in by an intruder who then took off with her purse. At this time, police don't believe Jackson was involved in that crime. 

Sheriff Lemaster said the case came to efficient and effective conclusion thanks to help from various law enforcement agencies including the Martinsburg City Police, Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, United States Marshal's Service and West Virginia State Police. Investigators said area businesses also provided integral contributions to this case. 

Jackson is currently being held at the Eastern Regional Detention Center. He was arraigned Tuesday night just before 10 p.m., and is being held on a $560,000 cash-only bond. He is due in court for a preliminary hearing in ten days. 

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