Jury finds man guilty in League City triple homicide that was a cold case for decades

Jesse Dean Kersh was found guilty of killing Thomas Earl McGraw, Beth Yvette Wilburn, and James Oatis at an auto shop in 1983.

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Friday, May 26, 2023
Jury finds man guilty in 1983 triple homicide in League City
Jesse Dean Kersh was found guilty of murder after killing three people working in a League City auto shop in 1983.

LEAGUE CITY, TX (KTRK) -- A guilty verdict was reached Friday in a triple murder that went cold for decades in League City.

Jesse Dean Kersh was found guilty in the triple slayings of Thomas Earl McGraw, Beth Yvette Wilburn, and James Oatis at an auto shop along West Main Street in 1983.

The verdict came after nearly four days of deliberations.

In November 1983, Wilburn, a co-owner of Corvette Concepts; McGraw, an employee; and Oatis, who was doing electrical work, were all killed inside the business. Kersh allegedly also worked there.

SEE PREVIOUS REPORT: Arrest made in 1983 League City triple homicide

There's a big break in an unsolved League City triple homicide that happened more than three decades ago. On Tuesday morning, police made an arrest.

The Galveston County medical examiner said it was a gruesome crime scene at the shop.

Wilburn reportedly had 114 stab wounds and four gunshot wounds. Oatis had 10 gunshot wounds. McGraw was shot seven times and stabbed 15 times.

Then, in 2016, Kersh was arrested less than a mile from his home in Spring outside a taco stand. It was a big break for the case that had been unsolved for 32 years.

Kersh had apparently always been on police radar and was interviewed extensively decades ago, but investigators later found forensic evidence that linked him to the crime.

Kersh will remain at the Galveston County Jail until his sentencing hearing.