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Fauquier defendant faces Spotsy charges

RELATED: See more crime news from the Fredericksburg region

A local man accused of a double murder in Fauquier County was indicted on six charges in Spotsylvania County this week.

John Wesley Jeffries, 60, was indicted by a grand jury Monday on felony charges of strangulation, abduction, attempted malicious wounding against a family member, statutory burglary and failure to register as a violent sex offender. He also was indicted on a misdemeanor count of assault and battery on a family member.

The Spotsylvania charges stem from a Feb. 16 incident with a female family member. An arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 30 in Spotsylvania Circuit Court.

Jeffries has been listed on Virginia’s violent sex offender registry since Nov. 1998. According to the registry, he is not employed and has convictions in Loudoun County from March 1986 for rape, object sexual penetration, abduction for immoral purposes and two counts of forcible sodomy.

Jeffries is charged in the Feb. 21 murders in Fauquier of 80-year-old Nelson Slack and his 74-year-old wife, Ethel.

The couple’s bodies were found in their home on Bunker Hill Road in The Plains in northern Fauquier.

Jeffries was arrested by Spotsylvania County deputies Feb. 27 at a house on Lafayette Boulevard in Fredericksburg after a three-day manhunt.

The Slacks’ vehicle was found a few days earlier in Wellington Woods in Fredericksburg, not far from where Jeffries was apprehended. A vehicle associated with Jeffries was found abandoned not far from the Slacks’ residence.

In Fauquier, he faces two counts of capital murder/abduction, two counts of capital murder/robbery, one count of capital murder/double murder, two counts of robbery, two counts of abduction, two counts of strangulation and possession of cocaine.

A trial date is scheduled for June 2, 2014. The trial is expected to last at least 21 days.

He had been charged previously in Fredericksburg with breaking and entering, grand larceny and assault and battery in connection with a home-invasion robbery Feb. 23 in Morningside off Lafayette Boulevard. But those charges were dropped in Fredericksburg Circuit Court on July 8.

In the city case, a 67-year-old city resident who was taking out his trash was rushed by a man he’d seen standing in his backyard, city police said.

The resident hit the intruder with his oxygen machine before going to a neighbor’s to call 911. The intruder stole money but was gone when police arrived.

Jeffries is being held without bond in the Rappahannock Regional Jail.

Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419