Suspect pleads guilty to murder of East Alton mother - KMOV.com

Suspect pleads guilty to murder of East Alton mother

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer
By Lakisha Jackson By Lakisha Jackson
Joshua Tharp, 27, has been charged with the First Degree Murder, Dismemberment of a Human Body and Concealment of a Homicidal Death in the murder of Crystal Terpening. By Bryce Moore Joshua Tharp, 27, has been charged with the First Degree Murder, Dismemberment of a Human Body and Concealment of a Homicidal Death in the murder of Crystal Terpening. By Bryce Moore
Joshua Tharp, 27, has been charged with the First Degree Murder, Dismemberment of a Human Body and Concealment of a Homicidal Death in the murder of Crystal Terpening. By Bryce Moore Joshua Tharp, 27, has been charged with the First Degree Murder, Dismemberment of a Human Body and Concealment of a Homicidal Death in the murder of Crystal Terpening. By Bryce Moore
Joshua Tharp, 27, has been charged with the First Degree Murder, Dismemberment of a Human Body and Concealment of a Homicidal Death in the murder of Crystal Terpening. By Bryce Moore Joshua Tharp, 27, has been charged with the First Degree Murder, Dismemberment of a Human Body and Concealment of a Homicidal Death in the murder of Crystal Terpening. By Bryce Moore

East Alton (KMOV)— A man was sentenced to decades in prison for the brutal murder of an East Alton mother Monday morning..

Joshua Tharp, 27, pleaded guilty to First Degree Murder, Dismemberment of a Human Body and Concealment of a Homicidal Death in the murder of Crystal Terpening. He was charged in December.

Police say forensic evidence allowed them to focus on Tharp.  He lived in the 200 block of Virginia in East Alton, Illinois.  The residence is just a few doors down from the scene where Terpening’s body parts were found.

According to police Terpening, 26, left home on the evening of October 12 and was never seen again. The case was treated as a missing person case until November 4 when her body parts were found by construction workers at an East Alton work site.

Police say that forensic evidence obtained at the scene and through the autopsy allowed them to focus their investigation, eventually leading them to Tharp.

Tharp was taken into custody just hours after first being approached by police. At some point, police say Tharp, “tried to cause injury to his neck.”  Authorities would not confirm this was a suicide attempt, saying only that Tharp was taken to a local hospital, treated and returned to the Madison County Jail.

Prosecutors say they believe Terpening was murdered shortly after she left home on October 12.  They say the autopsy revealed the cause of death was blunt trauma to the head.  Investigators believe Tharp acted alone.

Authorities are not certain that Terpening knew the suspect.

Tharp received 30 years in prison for murder and 25 years for dismembering the body. He must serve 100 percent of the murder sentence, and at least 50 percent of the second charge. These sentences will run consecutively, not concurrently.

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