Arrest made in 1983 League City triple homicide

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016
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.

LEAGUE CITY, TX (KTRK) -- The man arrested in a League City triple murder that went cold for decades didn't go very far.

Jesse 'Dean' Kersh, 58, was arrested Tuesday morning outside a taco stand where he's a regular. He was less than a mile from his home in Spring. It was a big break in the League City case that had been unsolved for 32 years.

In 1983, Beth Yvette Wilburn, Thomas Earl McGraw and James Craig Oatis were killed inside Corvette Concepts at 595 West Main Street in League City. Oatis was doing contract electrical work. Wilburn co-owned the auto shop. McGraw was an employee. Kersh also worked there.

"You can imagine losing somebody that you love so senselessly," said Marie Vickery, the cousin of one of the victims. "Then for 32 years not knowing ... nobody being held accountable for it. You can imagine the relief it felt."

According to the Galveston County Medical Examiner's reports, it was a grisly crime scene. Wilburn had 114 stab wounds and four gunshot wounds. Oatis had ten gunshot wounds. McGraw was shot seven times and stabbed 15 times.

Kersh had always been on police radar. He was interviewed extensively decades ago. Investigators now believe forensic evidence links him and they believe he acted alone.

Neighbors in the subdivision of Timber Lane weren't sure what Kersh did for a living. They said he had lived there for about 2 years and they often saw him tinkering in the garage. One neighbor said he had been married for 13 years with no children. However, a woman who identified herself as a friend of his wife's said the couple was actually divorced and he just rented a room from her. The woman described his ex-wife as "shocked" and "upset" by the news.

"Wow! I mean you don't know who your neighbors are that's for sure," said Rachel Behrens.

Bond has been set at $150,000.