Police charge man in death of Rebecca Neeley
By Jody Callahan
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Rebecca Neeley first met Aaron Jeans when she hired him, his mother and his grandfather to do a little work for her.
About a year and a half later, police said Wednesday, Jeans strangled Neeley to death inside her home, then left her body lying on the bedroom floor for days while he drove her car and stole money from her bank account. Her nine greyhounds were left locked in the house with her body, with no food or water.
Jeans, 25, was arrested Tuesday and was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in the slaying of Neeley, who was found June 18 in her home at 4583 Trout Valley in Hickory Hill. She had been dead for about five days, police believe.
Jeans, who has a lengthy arrest record for offenses in both Tennessee and Mississippi, is being held without bond.
The case unfolded after friends, concerned when they hadn’t heard from Neeley, asked police to check on the 58-year-old woman. That’s when her body was found on the floor of a spare bedroom at about 10:15p.m.
Police determined that someone last spoke with Neeley just before midnight June 13. At about 7:45 a.m. the next day, police said, Jeans was caught on an ATM camera using Neeley’s credit card to withdraw money. Those images were broadcast through local media.
Even though the man in the video attempted to hide his face with a towel, two witnesses who knew Jeans identified him through the video, police said.
Police then showed a photograph from the video to Jeans’ sister, Chandra Harris. According to the affidavit, she began crying and said the photo looked like her brother.
Police arrested Jeans at 1354 Noble in the Frayser area. Inside the home, they found a computer and printer belonging to Neeley, identified through serial numbers.
Neeley, a recreational therapist, was devoted to her greyhounds. In addition to having nine, she also took the retired racing dogs to area hospitals and nursing homes to visit patients as part of the Helping Hounds Pet Therapy group.
The Mid-South Greyhound Adoption Option organization in West Memphis is finding homes for Neeley’s dogs.
Contact Jody Callahan at 529-6531.
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