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Murder suspect has first court appearance

JENNA-LEY HARRISON
Staff Writer

A Lincoln County murder suspect appeared disoriented and disheveled Monday morning during his first court appearance.
Jerry Alvin Black Jr., 41, of 1225 Untold Way in Lincolnton, told Judge Ali B. Paksoy that he was not aware of the charges he faced and that he had no intention of hiring his own attorney. Paksoy also denied the suspect bond.
Black is accused of killing girlfriend, 42-year-old Jennifer Baumgardner Lee Costner, at their residence Friday afternoon.
According to Lincolnton Police Chief Rodney Jordan, Costner’s death was initially reported to police as a possible suicide.

Investigators said
Black claimed she died while he was napping on the couch, investigators said the scene was nothing short of a murder. Costner sustained multiple stab wounds and head trauma, police said. According to Kim Green, public information officer for Emergency Medical Services, Costner was in cardiac arrest when EMS crews arrived on scene.
Public records show that Black’s no stranger to the law. He’s been in and out of handcuffs for multiple decades for drug-related charges, assault charges, larceny, DWI and a bomb threat, and according to the North Carolina Department of Correction, he’s been convicted of at least three felony convictions.
The Clerk of Court’s Office said Marty Shuford, of Lewis & Shuford, P.A., in Lincolnton, is representing Black.

Black is set to appear in district court again on Feb. 28.
Authorities at Wake Baptist Seminary Hospital in Winston-Salem are performing an autopsy on Costner’s remains.

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