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4 indicted by Duval County grand jury for first-degree murder

The grand jury returned first-degree murder charges for David Nelson Austin, Alexander Pino, Zebulon Perkins and Jairus Smith.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Duval County grand jury indicted four people on first-degree murder charges for their role in four separate incidents that occurred in Jacksonville, the State Attorney's Office announced Thursday.

The grand jury returned first-degree murder charges for David Nelson Austin, Alexander Pino, Zebulon Perkins and Jairus Smith.

• David Nelson Austin 

Detectives say a DNA match lead them to David Austin, 59, who is currently serving a life sentence in Michigan for sex crimes.

According to accounts at the time, Leslie McCray’s 21-year-old boyfriend told police he was awakened around 3 a.m. Christmas Eve, 1985, to a man kneeling by his bed with a knife. 

The boyfriend told police the man tied him up and took McCray out of their apartment on St. Johns Avenue in Avondale. The boyfriend told police he was able to free himself from the bindings. He called police around 6 a.m. McCray’s body was found a few hours later on Old Middleburg Road, about five miles from the apartment. 

She had been raped and stabbed multiple times in her head, chest and neck.

• Alexander Pino

According to multiple law enforcement and child welfare sources, 4-year-old James Reese was brought to Wolfson Children’s Hospital on April 15 with injuries that included multiple broken bones and a badly fractured skull. He remained on life support for nearly a week before he was pronounced dead in what police quickly determined was a murder.

Officers consulted a neuropathologist during the investigation who stated that based on his observation and examination this was "undoubtedly a homicide," the arrest report says. The doctor also stated that there is no disease or naturally occurring illness or condition that could be confused with the child's injuries.

According to the arrest warrant, Pino had printed out an internet search for "intracranial hemorrhaging." The warrant also says Reese was not in daycare that day because he had not received his vaccinations and was therefore at home. 

• Zebulon Perkins

Perkins was arrested in December 2019, hours after Vivian James was found dead inside her Westside home in the 500 block of Glen Alan Court North. 

Police discovered her body around 7:41 a.m. after they were called out to the home in response to a home invasion robbery. They said several items were missing from her home, including identification cards, credit cards and her 2007 Toyota Camry.

Perkins was found with her vehicle at the Hospitality Inn & Suites at 7071 103rd St. at 10:41 a.m., throwing out items, according to police records. 

He was detained and charged with dealing in stolen property, a felony.

On Dec. 29, police searched the vehicle and found Perkins' bag, which contained a bloody pair of sweat pants, the Arlo camera from the victim's home and three laptops, according to the police report. Her cell phone and credit cards were also found during the search, police reported.

According to our news partners at the Florida Times-Union, officers and rescue workers were called about 8 p.m. to the scene on Nov. 11, 2019. Several neighbors said it sounded like a gun battle when the shooting occurred at King and Academy streets. 

Police said a handgun was recovered there. The suspects fled in different directions, Smith found about three blocks away with a gunshot wound to an arm, his arrest report said. Smith was a juvenile at the time of his initial arrest.

First Coast High School student Cordell Williams was later identified as the one who died.

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