Police catch sex offender suspected of double homicide

Posted at 4:21 PM, Feb 27, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-27 17:23:45-05

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (WTVR) - Police say the 60-year-old man suspected of a weekend double murder has been apprehended in Fredericksburg Wednesday.

Natatia L. Bledsoe, with the Fredericksburg Police Department, said in a news release that John Wesley Jeffries was taken into custody at 3:50 p.m. in the 2000 block of Lafayette Boulevard.

The Spotsylavania County Sheriff’s Office is scheduled to hold a news briefing about the arrest at 6 p.m.  Look for updates on and CBS 6 News.

Troopers had been searching the I-95 corridor, as well as Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania and Fauquier counties after 80-year-old Nelson Slack and 74-year-old Ethel Slack were discovered bound, gagged and beaten to death inside their Fauquier County home Sunday.

Church members had asked a neighbor to check on the pair after they didn't show up for church that morning.  Ethel, according to neighbors, was in charge of the church bulletin.

“They were church-going people and seemed to be right nice,” said neighbor Lester Sutphin.

Police recovered the victims’ vehicle late Sunday afternoon along the 1700 block of Lafayette Boulevard in Fredericksburg.

A 68-year-old Fredericksburg man with chronic pulmonary disease said he managed to fight off Jeffries inside his home Saturday evening.

Leonard Mara told CBS 6 News that he feared for his life, and didn't recognize who the man inside his home was at the time. [READ MORE: Elderly man fights off alleged double-murder suspect with oxygen tank]

“I stopped and asked, ‘who is that?’” Mara said, as the suspect approached him quickly and pushed him inside his backdoor. “

He said ‘you shut up or I will kill you right away,’” Mara recounted.

Jeffries is also wanted for strangling his ex-wife recently.  Police also believe he attacked another elderly man in Fredericksburg. .