Jeffrey Sauerbry killed door-to-door market researcher Summer Shipp because he thought she was a government spy, Jackson County's prosecutor said Friday afternoon.
Sauerbry was convicted at 3 p.m. by a Jackson County jury in connection with a 1998 death.
Prosecutors then unsealed the first-degree murder charge involving Shipp, 54, who disappeared on Dec. 8, 2004. Shipp was last seen on the front porch of Sauerbry's home as she conducted her surveys.
He was taken into custody and questioned about Shipp's disappearance the day after her daughter reported Shipp missing, but charges weren't filed then.
That changed Friday when Jean Peters Baker made her announcement in a 5 p.m. news conference.
"It's a great day," Baker said. "Justice may be delayed, but not denied."
Sauerbry was a person of interest almost immediately after Shipp disappeared. A secret charge was filed last month. The charge remained sealed until Friday's conclusion of the trial on the 1998 murder.
"It's never too late," Baker said.
Shipp's remains and her missing car key were found on Oct. 7, 2007, by fishermen on the Little Blue River running alongside the Little Blue Trace Trail in eastern Jackson County. The area was north of Missouri 78 and Fisher Road.
Sauerbry had been on trial this week in connection with William Kellett's death. He was convicted of first-degree murder.
A grand jury indicted Sauerbry in July 2009 for killing Kellett. His body was found in July 1998 and he had been stabbed to death. The two men had fought during a poker game.
Shipp's relatives attended Sauerbry's trial this week.
Sauerbry has been convicted for other crimes and served time in prison.
According to court documents, Sauerbry gave differing statements about where he was when Shipp went missing. He initially denied having anything to do with Shipp's murder, but later wouldn't answer questions.
"Sauerbry stated these were powerful questions and that he wanted an attorney," according to court documents.
Sauerbry's job supervisor told detectives that Sauerbry acted "wired" and was "freaking out" during an all-employee meeting. The supervisor said Sauerbry told him that police were looking in his neighborhood for a missing woman.
The supervisor said Sauerbry then told him, "If I go home, I'll be arrested," according to court documents.
In 2005 and 2006, Sauerbry allegedly told an associate on several occasions that he raped and killed Shipp.
In June 2012, a longtime friend of Sauerbry's told detectives that Sauerbry was at his house and used his computer to look up information related to Shipp's disappearance. He said this occurred in early 2008.
After asking Sauerbry about it, the friend said Sauerbry told him that Shipp was spying on him for the government. He said he directed Shipp to his back door and "snatched her," according to court documents.
He described how he strangled Shipp and slit her throat before dismembering her body. He put her remains in a plastic bag and put them into his van, according to court documents.
When the friend asked Sauerbry if he later found out Shipp wasn't a spy, he allegedly replied, "You can't take no chances."
As Sauerbry began to describe how he disposed of the remains, the friend cut him off.
"I don't want to hear no more Jeff," the friend allegedly told police. "You don't need to be telling me this, and I'm going to forget I heard it."
Shipp's remains were found in a plastic garbage bag.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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