NJ woman’s housemate charged with her murder, setting home ablaze
An Ocean County man attempted to steal from his sometime-girlfriend and when she caught him in the act, he killed her and later used nail polish remover to set her house ablaze, officials said Wednesday.
Authorities said they got a break on the case because the woman's housemate, Ronald Teschner, spilled the beans to a friend. The remains of the 65-year-old victim, however, still have not been recovered.
"We allege that this defendant murdered Jacqueline Terrulli by asphyxiation in the early morning hours of Sept. 12, 2019," Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni announced Wednesday.
Teschner has been in custody since his arrest on Sept. 13 in Paterson, where he was found inside Terrulli's Jeep Cherokee, which was filled with various items that belonged to the victim, including two shotguns, Gramiccioni said.
The 49-year-old at the time was charged with two counts of unlawful possession of a weapon, two counts of certain persons not to possess weapons, and three counts of receiving stolen property.
He is now being charged with first-degree murder, first-degree felony murder, second-degree disturbing human remains, first-degree robbery, second-degree aggravated arson and three counts of theft.
According to an affidavit, Teschner confessed to a friend his role in the disappearance and death of Terrulli. Teschner had heard Terrulli wanted him out of the house, so he planned to steal items from the house to sell, the affidavit said. When Terrulli caught him and threatened to call police, he "dealt with" Terrulli, wrapped her body in a tarp and transported it elsewhere, it said.
The affidavit also said Teschner did not have a permit to possess firearms because of prior convictions for assault and burglary.
Police learned during their investigation that Terrulli for a time had been bothered by Teschner's routine abuse of alcohol and drugs, and repeated pattern of violent behavior.
After Teschner started the house fire, Gramiccioni said, he drove north in her Jeep toward Passaic County. He stopped along the way to sell some stolen items and to purchase heroin, he said.
Ocean Township officials were notified of the house fire about 7:32 a.m. on Sept. 12, reportedly about 10 minutes after Teschner left the home on Wickapecko Drive. Other residents of the home were out of town at the time of the fire.
An investigation into the blaze revealed that it began in the master bedroom, which Teschner was using while living in the home.
Teschner's public defender could not be reached for comment.
Jef Henninger, attorney for Terrulli's family, said the announcement of these charges "is just the first step in a long road to getting closure" for the family.
Investigators searched over 50 acres of land in search of Terrulli's remains, Gramiccioni said.
"While our case has been charged as a murder here, our investigate efforts throughout the entire law enforcement community continue, and we continue to try to find Jacqueline Terrulli's remains," Gramiccioni said. "That part will not change."
Gramiccioni said anyone with information is urged to contact Detective Patrick Petruzziello of the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office at 800-533-7443 or Detective Chris Brady of the Ocean Township Police Department at 732-531-1800. Tips can also be submitted to Monmouth County Crime Stoppers, which will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest.
More from the Jersey Shore: