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Accused Killer in 18-Year-Old Murder in Court

CINCINNATI (Deb Dixon) -- The way Jacki Bonner died is something her family cannot stop thinking about.

It was 18 years ago when the troubled 41-year-old mother was shoved in a cistern to drown.  But Monday her family got to do something for her.  They represented Jacki Bonner in court as her accused killer faced a judge.  Only Local 12 cameras were in the courtroom for Monday's hearing.

Jacki Bonner's family took up two rows in the Campbell County courtroom.

Her aunt, Doris Foster, said, "Jacki was loved even though she did some bad things she really was loved."

They watched the closed circuit T.V. screen for the face they came to see.  Robert Morgan pleaded not guilty to killing her but word is he copped to the murder.  He was in jail for domestic violence when the indictment was returned two weeks ago. 

Jacki's naked body was found in a cistern in Melbourne, Kentucky in December 1996.  She had alcohol and cocaine in her system but the cause of death was drowning.

Deloris Hayes, another one of Jacki's aunts, said, "She was alive in that 12 feet of water when he threw her in.  There was no reason for that.  I don't care what she did, he didn't have to do that."

For months the decomposed body in the cistern couldn't be identified.  Kentucky's forensic anthropologist at the time, Dr. Emily Craig, used the skull to reconstruct a face of what the woman might have looked like alive.  A partial print from one finger matched a print on file for Jacki Bonner.

"It's not often that my office gets to call a family members that have been waiting years for just some word.  So it was a good opportunity to be able to do that, to let them know that we were at a point where someone could be charged," she said.

The indictment is a start.  Bonner's family wants to now exactly what happened and why.  They will be at every hearing and I'm told there will be more relatives next time.

Because Jacki Bonner was loved.

No one is talking about the evidence.  Whatever he said it must be something only the killer could know.  Bonner's last known address was in Over-The-Rhine.  Her family does not know of any connection to northern Kentucky.




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