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Suspect pleads guilty in Iron Range homicide

A suspect in the April 2014 killing of an Iron Range man has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for testimony against other defendants in the case.

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Bartholamy Drift

A suspect in the April 2014 killing of an Iron Range man has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for testimony against other defendants in the case.

Bartholamy Jake Drift, 40, pleaded guilty Friday in St. Louis County District Court in Virginia as part of a plea agreement in which he provided information on other defendants in the death of Harley Jacka, according to Assistant County Attorney Karl Sundquist.

The body of Jacka, 28, was found on April 29, 2014, in an apartment at 207 Fifth St., in Virginia. An autopsy found he had been stabbed 15 times in the head, face, neck and chest. Four knives were found at the scene.

Drift was one of the initial three persons of interest in the case; the others are John Edward Isham and Anthony James Isham. All three were charged with second-degree murder.

A fourth suspect - Eveleth resident Janessa Lynn Peters, 21 - was charged with second-degree murder after allegedly confessing to authorities in an interview last month that she asked a man to kill Jacka, her boyfriend, in April 2014. She told investigators she was coming forward now because she couldn't live with the guilt, according to a criminal complaint. Peters allegedly told Drift that she wanted to get out of a relationship with Jacka and asked Drift to get rid of Jacka at a party on April 27, 2014, according to the complaint. She said Drift agreed to do it and that she brought Jacka to the party with the intent of having him killed there. Drift confirmed that he had killed Jacka the following day, according to the complaint.

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Drift's sentencing has yet to be scheduled. Peters is due back in court for a hearing Wednesday.

An Oct. 19 trial date has been set for John Isham. Anthony Isham is scheduled to go on trial on Nov. 10.

Related Topics: CRIMEVIRGINIAIRON RANGE
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