HOUSTON (FOX 26) - An accused killer was arrested today and charged with a triple murder. It was a massacre that left three people dead inside a League City custom car shop 32 years ago. Their killer, it appeared, had gotten away with murder but now someone has been arrested.
”It's just unbelievable. It's something we've prayed about but didn't know would ever happen,” cries Marie Vickery whose cousin was killed that day.
Since 1983, loved ones have revisited old newspaper clippings, re-living the details of what happened at Corvette Concepts in League City. Co-owner Beth Wilburn was stabbed 114 times and shot 4 times. Wilburn's boyfriend, Thomas McGraw, took 7 bullets and was stabbed 15 times. 22-year-old electrician James Craig Oatis was there that day in November 1983 installing lights. He was shot off the ladder he'd been working on, a total of 10 times.
“He worked hard. There was nothing he wouldn't do for anyone. He was such a good guy,” adds Vickery.
Investigators say the man responsible for the triple murder was a mechanic at the shop, Jesse Dean Kersh who's now 58 years old.
“He was arrested at a restaurant in Spring,” explains League City Police Officer Regan Pena. She says Kersh was questioned by detectives early on but had to be released for lack of evidence. Officer Pena says a recent review of evidence led cold case homicide investigators back to Kersh.
”There's been developments in DNA analysis and other forensic technology that has allowed us to get the evidence we needed,” adds Pena.
“I've cried, I've laughed. I've been through so many emotions today,” says Vickery.
Oatis was a young husband with two daughters, and one on the way. Relatives say he took the freelance job to get money for Christmas presents. In fact, he had to borrow gas money to get there.
Officers, early on, thought Wilburn may have been the intended target because she was the most viciously attacked and the business had not been robbed. Now that Kersh has been arrested investigators have not released an updated motive for the murders.