Juan Ignacio Blanco  


  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Murderpedia has thousands of hours of work behind it. To keep creating new content, we kindly appreciate any donation you can give to help the Murderpedia project stay alive. We have many
plans and enthusiasm to keep expanding and making Murderpedia a better site, but we really
need your help for this. Thank you very much in advance.




Jerry Jerome SPRAGGINS





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Burglar-rapist linked to deaths of three women in the same apartment over two-year period
Number of victims: 1 - 3
Date of murders: 1981 / 1983
Date of arrest: April 11, 1985
Date of birth: 1955
Victims profile: Lillian Harris, 83 / Joan Light, 51 / Sarah McHale, 68
Method of murder: Smothered with a pillow
Location: Montclair, Essex County, New Jersey, USA
Status: Sentenced to life imprisonment with thirty years' parole ineligibility plus a consecutive twenty-year term with ten years' parole ineligibility on the aggravated sexual assault charge, and a concurrent ten-year term for burglary on April 3, 1986

Apartment 31, Cranetown apartments, Montclaire, New Jersey.

This is the scene for one of the worst curses in history, if Jerry Spraggins is to be believed.

In November 1981, Lillian Harris, 83, died from what was diagnosed as a heart attack while the apartment was being burglarised.

Then on April 18, 1983, Joan Light, 51, suffered the same fate. The apartment was being burgled and she had a heart attack (according to the coroner).

On September 2, the new tenant, 68-year-old Sarah McHale, was found dead in the living room. She had been smothered with a pillow. Police showed their immense thinking powers and deduced that there may have been a connection with the previous deaths.

On April 11, 1985, Jerry Spraggins was arrested for the murders of McHale and Light. Spraggins had just beaten a charges of sexual assault and burglary at another apartment complex and was serving a two year probation for similar crimes.

Ultimately Spraggins was convicted of only one murder, Sarah McHale, and is currently serving a 30-year sentence. Police suspect him in numerous other cases.

Since Jerry Spraggins arrest the 'curse' has not been in affect. Strange co-incidence that.

The Wacky World of Murder


Jerry Spraggins broke into the apartment of his sixty-eight-year-old victim, sexually assaulted and suffocated her, and stole her pocketbook and a gold neck chain.

He was arrested two years later and linked to the murders of two other women in the same building, one such homicide occurring prior to the enactment of the capital punishment statute. Defendant was acquitted of both homicides.

In his capital prosecution for the murder of the sixty-eight-year-old victim, defendant was convicted of purposeful and knowing murder, felony murder, aggravated sexual assault, and burglary.

At the penalty-phase trial, evidence of defendant's good character was offered by his mother, as well as testimony concerning prior mental health counseling and evidence of his compulsive and voyeuristic behavior toward women.

The jury found the c(5)(d) (diminished capacity) and c(5)(f) (no prior criminal history) mitigating factors. Defendant's penalty trial resulted in a sentence of life imprisonment with thirty years' parole ineligibility plus a consecutive twenty-year term with ten years' parole ineligibility on the aggravated sexual assault charge, and a concurrent ten-year term for burglary.


Spraggins, Jerry Jerome

There seemed to be a curse on the Cranetown Apartments, in Montclair, New Jersey -- more specifically upon Apartment 31. 

In November 1981, tenant Lillian Harris, 83, died of an apparent heart attack while her apartment was being burglarized. Seventeen months later, on April 18, 1983, 51-year-old Joan Leight died under identical circumstances, at the same address. 

Her replacement as tenant in Apartment 31, 68-year-old Sarah McHale, was found dead in her living room September 2, smothered with a pillow. Police spokesmen made veiled references to "similarities" in the three deaths, refusing to offer more details for fear of jeopardizing their investigation. 

On April 11, 1985, authorities in Essex County arrested 30-year-old Jerry Spraggins, a mechanic and dispatcher for a local taxi service, on charges of murdering Sarah McHale and Joan Leight. Also considered a prime suspect in the death of Lillian Harris, Spraggins escaped charges in that case through lack of conclusive evidence.

Twice charged with criminal trespass and sexual assault at another Montclair apartment complex, in December 1984, the suspect had escaped with a $600 fine and two years probation after the judge suspended an 11-month jail term.

Additional charges in the Cranetown Apartment cases included burglary, theft, and sexual assault. Spraggins was ultimately convicted in the death of Sarah McHale, sentenced to a term of 30 years in prison. 

While the other crimes remain officially unsolved, Montclair authorities maintain a firm conviction of their suspect's guilt across the board. It is worth noting that the "Cranetown curse" was lifted when he went to jail.

Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans


Jury Recommends 30-Year Sentence

The New York Times

January 31, 1986

An Essex County jury today recommended that a 31-year-old cabdriver serve at least 30 years in prison for sexually assaulting and murdering a Montclair woman in 1983. The jury recommended against the death penalty.

The jury of five men and seven women deliberated for about four hours today before deciding that the cabdriver, Jerry Jerome Spraggins of Montclair, should be sentenced to serve 30 years to life in prison. The jury said he should not be eligible for parole until he had served at least 30 years. Judge John J. Dios, of the Superior Court here, said he would impose sentence April 3.

The jury convicted Mr. Spraggins last week of raping, assaulting and strangling Sarah McHale, 67 years old, in a burglary of her apartment at the Cranetown Garden Apartment complex on Orange Road in Montclair in 1983. But the jury acquitted him burglary, sexual assault and murder of two other women in the same building.



MO: Burglar-rapist linked to deaths of three women in the same apartment over two-year period.

DISPOSITION: 30-year sentence on one count, 1985.



home last updates contact