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Witness in Sandusky crime killed on Michigan highway

Jessica Cuffman • Aug 27, 2014 at 2:38 PM

The body of Jennifer Scavone, 32, was found inside her bullet-ridden SUV on the shoulder of the highway at about 3:40 a.m. Saturday, according to a local newspaper, The Macomb Daily.

The Roseville, Mich., native was a witness to a case against Josef Zbercot, 32, who pleaded guilty to a single charge of gross sexual imposition in Erie County Common Pleas Court on Friday, according to court records.

Only hours later police found Scavone’s body.

No one has been charged in the shooting.

Michigan State police have been in touch with Sandusky detectives about Zbercot.

“I don’t want to jeopardize an ongoing state investigation, but we have been talking,” Sandusky police Sgt. Dana Newell said Monday.

Friday, Zbercot pleaded guilty to gross sexual imposition in exchange for two other charges being dismissed, a second charge of gross sexual imposition and one count of assault.

While he isn’t set for sentencing until March 21, he agreed to serve 60 days in jail as part of the plea agreement, be placed on probation, and be required to register as a Tier II sex offender, according to court documents.

He’ll be required to register every six months with his local sheriff’s office for 25 years.

Erie County Common Pleas Court Judge Tygh Tone ordered a pre-sentence investigation before continuing Zbercot’s $40,000 bond. Zbercot posted bond shortly after his indictment and arrest in September 2012.

His charges came from a July 15 incident at Quality Inn on Cleveland Road, where he and an 11-year-old boy were staying after a night of bowling at Thirsty Pony.

Months later, the boy told his mother Zbercot had been drinking, and that when they got back to the hotel they started wrestling. The boy said Zbercot bit him twice, then forced the boy to grope him.

Zbercot denied the allegations — he said he remembered wrestling with the boy, but he didn’t remember any of the other alleged actions.

When reached by The Macomb Daily Sunday, Zbercot refused to comment on Scavone’s death.

Erie County court documents list Scavone as a witness in Zbercot’s case.

Scavone was on I-75 on her way home from work as a shot girl at a club in downtown Detroit when she apparently stopped on the freeway, according to the newspaper.

A highway employee spotted Scavone’s SUV idling at the side of the highway and stopped to help. He then noticed her body slumped over the steering wheel and bullet holes in the side of the vehicle.

On Monday the Wayne County medical examiner ruled Scavone’s death a homicide, according to The Macomb Daily.


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