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Archive for Friday, February 23, 2007

Charges amended in slain student’s death

February 23, 2007

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— A man suspected of stalking members of an Arkansas City dance team was charged Thursday with an additional count of aggravated criminal sodomy in connection with the death of an Arkansas City student.

Justin Eugene Thurber already faced charges of aggravated kidnapping, rape and capital murder in the beating and strangling death of Jodi Sanderholm, whose body was found last month after four days of searching.

Sanderholm was a member of the Cowley College Tigerette Danceline, which performs at basketball games and community events. Authorities said Thurber kidnapped Sanderholm after following her from dance practice and drove her to a rural area, where he raped and killed her.

After Sanderholm disappeared, two members of the dance team said Thurber had followed them. A former girlfriend also filed a petition for a restraining order against him, saying he stalked her by following her, showing up outside of her family's home and sending her text messages.

Sanderholm's disappearance Jan. 5 prompted days of searching and nightly candlelight vigils. Her car was found in a lake Jan. 9, and her body was discovered about eight miles away.

Thurber was jailed on $1 million bail.

His next hearing is at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Cowley County Courthouse in Winfield.

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