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Monday, May 19, 2008

CO- Son Dismembered Dad After Being Raped

Jeremiah Berry Says His Father Wanted Son To Become Wife

5-19-2008 Colorado:

CORTEZ, Colo. -- A 20-year-old man accused of killing and dismembering his father told police that after his father raped him, he shot his father, skinned and decapitated him and then fed his flesh to coyotes, according to court documents obtained by the Cortez Journal.

Jeremiah Berry was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder. Police started searching for Jack Berry, 42, on April 28, after family members in Arizona claimed he had been missing for some time.

Deputies with Montezuma County Sheriff's Department later found body parts -- some encased in concrete -- at various locations in the county.

According to a search warrant affidavit, on April 29, Jeremiah Berry confessed to police. He said that on or about Feb. 19, his father told him that God instructed him that his son needed to get a sex change and become his wife, according to the affidavit obtained by the Journal.

Shortly after that, he was raped, Jeremiah Berry said.

He said after the assault, his father threatened to take him to the mountains and "make 'Jerry' his girlfriend," the affidavit said. His father also threatened to kill him and the rest of his family, the Journal reported.

Jeremiah Berry said he shot his father in the back of the head and then stabbed him 199 times with a knife and dismembered him with an ax, according to the affidavit. Jeremiah Berry said he removed the head, the hands and the feet and skinned the body, feeding the flesh to coyotes.

For the next two days, Jeremiah Berry carried the body out of the canyon in five-gallon buckets, the affidavit said. The two buckets containing his father's head, hands and feet, he put in a storage room at a local dog kennel.

Police seized the buckets with a search warrant and a CT scan showed that one bucket -- which was encased in concrete -- contained what were believed to be a man's hands and feet, according to the affidavit.

Cortez is about 250 miles southwest of Denver, in the Four Corners region. ..more.. by Denver

Records suggest son killed, dismembered father after being raped

5-16-2008 Colorado:

Court documents regarding a Montezuma County man charged with killing his father detail a gruesome narrative, in which the accused allegedly shot his father in the head after being raped, and then skinned and decapitated the body.

Jeremiah R. Berry, 20, was charged with second-degree murder Wednesday in county court for allegedly killing his father, Jack Berry, 42, dismembering him and placing body parts at various locations in the county.

According to a Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office search warrant affidavit obtained Thursday, Jeremiah “Jerry” Berry confessed to authorities on April 29 that he “shot Jack Berry in the back of the head with a pistol.” The shooting occurred on or about Feb. 19.

The affidavit states that Jack Berry and Jeremiah Berry were transporting some sheep to a canyon south of 30920 Colorado Highway 184. Jeremiah Berry stated that his father told him he was instructed by God that his son needed to get a sex change and become his wife, according to the affidavit. At that time, Jeremiah Berry said, his father raped him. He then allegedly shot Jack Berry in the back of the head.

Jeremiah Berry told authorities he shot Jack Berry because his father wanted to take him into the mountains and “make ‘Jerry’ his girlfriend,” according to the affidavit. At that point, Jack Berry made threats to kill his son and the rest of his family.

Following the alleged murder of his father, Jeremiah Berry said, he stabbed the body 199 times with a knife, which he then used with an ax to dismember Jack Berry, according to the affidavit. Jeremiah Berry reported that he removed the head, along with the hands and feet, skinned the body and fed the flesh to coyotes. For the next two days, Jeremiah Berry carried the body out of the canyon in five-gallon buckets.

Jeremiah Berry was living at 30920 Highway 184 “for some time,” according to the affidavit. Another portion of the affidavit states Jeremiah Berry said the shooting occurred at the door of an outbuilding at that location, which is south of Dolores.

Court records indicate some details of the homicide might still need to be clarified. For instance, although the affidavit indicates from Jeremiah Berry’s grandmother that he might have shot his father with a .22-caliber rifle at 30920 Highway 184, further information notes that he might have shot Jack Berry in the back of the head with a 9 mm handgun in a cab-over camper trailer on the same property.

After admitting to the murder, Jeremiah Berry told authorities he placed the head, torso and feet in the back of his father’s pickup truck, according to the affidavit. He said he disposed of the murder weapon, a double-bit ax and three knives in the Animas River in Durango. After that, Jeremiah Berry said, he placed two buckets containing his father’s head, hands and feet in a storage room at the Dog Hotel, a dog kennel located at 33350 Highway 184.

The affidavit notes that the buckets were recovered during the execution of a search warrant on April 29. A preliminary CT scan of one bucket at Southwest Memorial Hospital revealed what was believed to be hands and feet.

A police interview with the property owner of 30920 Highway 184, Elizabeth Griffits, states that Jack Berry was living in a camping trailer on the land for about six months, according to the affidavit. Griffits said she last saw Jack Berry in mid-February and thought he left the region for Idaho, Montana or Canada. There was no indication in court documents that Griffits has any connection with the case.

According to court documents, local and state investigators have searched at least four county locations: 30920 Highway 184; 6258 U.S. Highway 160, south of Cortez, which is owned by Jeremiah Berry’s mother, Rita Berry; 1208 Florida Road, Durango, at the Florida Village Apartment complex; and the Dog Hotel, 33350 Highway 184.

Although court records were sealed at the time, a Colorado Bureau of Investigation search warrant that was posted to an outbuilding at 30920 Highway 184 on May 5 indicated officials were looking for items ranging from human remains to firearms. An inventory list posted on the outbuilding described 30 items taken from the property, including eight firearms, ammunition, shell casings, a machete, sword, knife, hammer, hatchet, marijuana, drug paraphernalia and contents of a burn pile.

No body parts were discovered at Rita Berry’s residence, the Florida Village Apartment complex or at 30920 Highway 184, according to inventory lists included with court documents.

Items seized at 33350 Highway 184 include two bags of bones, blood swabs from the area and a 55-gallon drum with contents, according to an inventory list in the court file.

A woman at a residence near the Dog Hotel on the 33350 Highway 184 property declined to comment or identify herself Thursday.

On May 1, Montezuma County Sheriff Gerald Wallace said an area of the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation was also searched for human remains. Jeremiah Berry said he placed his father’s torso on the reservation, according to the affidavit.

Evidence, such as body parts, was sent to a CBI laboratory in Grand Junction for examination and DNA testing to help identify the victim, Wallace said on May 1.

Attorneys representing the Cortez Journal filed a motion Monday in Montezuma County Court requesting that previously sealed court documents, such as search warrants, inventory lists, court filings, motions and arrest affidavits, be made public.

County Judge Todd Plewe unsealed court documents dealing with Jeremiah Berry’s case Wednesday. Public documents pertaining to Berry were previously sealed at the request of 22nd Judicial District Attorney Jim Wilson.

In his response to the Journal’s motion, Wilson said the investigation of Jeremiah Berry’s case was “active” and “ongoing.” Wilson agreed to the Journal’s motion in court Wednesday and advised the judge to unseal court documents immediately.

A gag order, or motion to limit pretrial publicity, remains in place. Plewe approved the gag order May 7 at the request of public defender Pam Brown, who is representing Jeremiah Berry.

During a phone conversation Thursday, Wilson declined to comment further on the particulars involving Jeremiah Berry.

“I can’t get into specifics,” Wilson said, citing the gag order.

The district attorney also chose not to discuss his reasoning for charging Jeremiah Berry with second-degree murder instead of first-degree murder, which involves premeditation.

“I can’t talk about things that led me to second-degree murder rather than first degree,” he said.

Brown declined to comment on the case Thursday.

Jeremiah Berry is being held at the Montezuma County Detention Center on a $500,000 bond. A preliminary hearing for Berry is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. June 20 in county court. ..more.. by Steve Grazier at


Anonymous said...

First of all let me say Jack was straight as can be. He was awarded a heroism medal for bravery by the city of Colorado Springs. All this sexual B.S is just that B.S. What would you say if you knew you were going to jail for the rest of your life? It’s total bullshit. Jack was murdered, plain and simple. What kind of person does that to a body who is not very disturbed? The whole 2nd degree thing is unbelieveable. I guess it must just be easier for the state to persue.
Jack was a class act. He worked hard and did everything he could do to keep his word. I dont know what really happened out there, and I really dont think we will ever. All I can say is over the numerous years Jack and I were friends, He had always been a standup guy. That being said, he ran into alot or bad luck. Jack was a good man, murdered by a very lost person.

Guest said...

I knew Jack too. He had a string of bad luck for many years, but there was something about the man that just wasn't right. I would always catch him looking at other men and boys with just a tad bit more twinkle in his eyes that need be. I believe Jeremiah's story.

Coworker said...

I also knew JW and worked with him for several years... Strange man indeed. I believe Jeremiah like his father have lots of mental problems. Jack was more than a story teller... I think he actually believed his crazy tails of riches and heroics. I often heard him say he owned multiple Subway sandwich shops, acres upon acres of land, longtime member of the Pro rodeo Hall of Fame, and a renowned big cat hunter just to name a few. His last day on the job after 12 years was like any other day but Jack broke down and began to cry out of nowhere, put down his knife and left his job and Co. Springs without saying a word. Very sad and horrible ending