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Detectives Reveal How They Say Daughter Killed Mother

Reported: Mar. 6, 2014 6:30 PM EST
Updated: Mar. 6, 2014 6:50 PM EST
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New details emerge in court in the case against a daughter accused of killing her own mother.

Jessica Woods, 36, waived her right to be present at her own preliminary hearing on a murder charge. She's accused of killing Eva Woods, 59.

Jessica did not step foot in the courtroom, but still wanted the hearing to take place.

A Kanawha County Sheriff's Office detective testified at the hearing that on the day of her arrest, she indicated she did not want to be on TV.

"She told us that she didn't want to go across the street with the news there and she was concerned about her children seeing it," said Sgt. Sean Snuffer. But it was the concern of Eva's father that his daughter hadn't been seen that first launched the investigation. Detectives questioned Jessica following the missing person's complaint and became suspicious when she refused to let them in a locked shed behind the home located just outside of St. Albans city limits.
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"I told her if that was her mother in there, if it were my mother, I would want the door opened just to make sure she wasn't in there, and she said she didn't want the door opened," Snuffer testified.

The next time detectives went back, they had obtained a search warrant for the home. Detectives say they found Eva's body in a shed beside a partially dug grave. They say Jessica later admitted she killed her mother after getting out of jail. They say she told them she used two extension cords to strangle her, and an object to to hit her in the head.

Her attorney, Chief Public Defender George Castelle, said during the hearing she may be potentially mentally ill. He also said in the hearing that he didn't believe there was premeditation, and asked the case be dismissed.

"One of the key elements that distinguishes murder from manslaughter or anyone else is premediation. What we've heard today is not probable cause there was premeditation," Castelle said.

Magistrate Jack Pauley disagreed and sent the case to circuit court.

Jessica's boyfriend Shawn Legg was also arrested in connection with the investigation for accessory after the fact to murder. Deputies said Legg helped Woods hide her mother's body.



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