BUCHANAN DAM — A woman who failed to show up in court twice after being accused of helping get rid of a homicide victim’s body is back behind bars, Llano County deputies said Oct. 30.
Letecia Chapman Jeffers, 25, has been indicted on a second-degree charge of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, in this case a corpse, following an October 2010 investigation in the death and disappearance of 29-year-old Mark Shurish. Along with her arrest on Oct. 22, deputies have also accused her mother Dee Anne Jeffers, 54, and her brother James Michael Jeffers, 28, with helping the woman evade capture.
Jail records indicate the two family members are charged with hinder apprehension or prosecution of a known felon, a third-degree felony.
Letecia Jeffers’ relatives were arrested on Oct. 23, said Llano County Chief Deputy John Neff.
Dee Anne Jeffers was released the same day from the Llano County Jail after posting a $15,000 bond. James Jeffers is being held in lieu of a $25,000 bond while Letecia Jeffers is being held without bond.
Letecia Jeffers is being investigated in a case that dates to June 2010, when Shurish’s family members reported him missing to Travis County authorities. As police began investigating his disappearance, they learned he was last seen at a Fuzzy’s Corner, a Buchanan Dam watering hole.
Llano County investigators followed information that led them to a Mason County ranch where they discovered Shurish’s burned remains.
Authorities eventually charged Thomas Barkley Creech, 35, with Shurish’s murder. In August 2012, a Llano County jury convicted Creech of slaying Shurish and sentenced him to 75 years in prison.
Authorities initially charged three people with assisting Creech in the disposal of the body — Letecia Jeffers, 26-year-old Justin Dale Silvernale and a 56-year-old woman. Prosecutors dropped the charges against the 56-year-old woman.
But Silvernale pleaded guilty to the charge and accepted a two-year prison term.
During Creech’s murder trial, prosecutors said he persuaded Shurish to go with him to Jeffers’ residence where the defendant said he would introduce him to a person interested in investing in the drug business. But when the two men arrived and Creech directed Shurish to a back bedroom, there was nobody waiting. Instead, prosecutors said, Creech shot Shurish in the back of the head.
Silvernale testified during the August murder trial that he helped Creech pick the body off the floor and stuff it in an entertainment center.
Prosecutors claim Jeffers also assisted Creech in disposing of the body.
Jeffers was scheduled to enter a plea Aug. 17, but failed to show. During the murder trial 10 days later, prosecutors called her as a witness, but again she didn’t appear.
During the murder trial, Dee Anne Jeffers told the court her daughter might be in Hawaii.
But Neff said the woman may never have traveled very far from Buchanan Dam.
"She may have been in the area the entire time," he said.
If convicted, Jeffers faces up to 20 years in prison. Her mother and brother could be in prison a maximum of 10 years if they are convicted.