Reaction To Plea Deal For Teenage Murder Suspect
A plea deal has been reached for the teen accused of murdering a jogger in a Blendon Township park.
55-year old Jane Juergens was stabbed dozens of times on the Ridgewood Park trail back in October.
16-year-old Jordan Stewart has now agreed to be tried as an adult and be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 18 years.
"Knowing that the sons don't have to go through a trial at least for the next 18 years, he won't be causing any trouble," said Juergens' neighbor Judy Garling.
There is some relief for those who knew Juergens with the plea deal announced for her accused killer.
"Um, I don't know. I'm thinking it wasn't enough but I don't know," said Georganna Collins.
Collins knew Stewart. She lives right next to his former group home. The 16-year-old would chat over the fence about her garden.
"To me, I never would have thought he would've done something like that. Then again, I didn't know history," said Collins.
Stewart had documented previous violent incidents. Many question why he was living in the group home where he was able to go to the park and run off.
"I understand that there are privacy laws but some of that should be able to be communicated," said Collins.
The horrific tragedy inspired a whirlwind of conversation, a closer look at group homes, and legislation.
"It looks like it's going to pass the house and hopefully the senate before their summer break," said Blendon Township Trustee Stew Flaherty.
Flaherty says the measure will require group homes to notify police, first responders and neighbors of their existence. It would also give the community a contact person for any problems.
"The funding has been provided to look at placing the right kids in the right environment. Jordan Stewart should never have been here," said Flaherty.
A memorial is also going to be put in the park this summer in memory of Jane Juergens.