Oklahoma Man Shoots Aunt in Head, Claiming He Was Tired of Sex in Exchange For Housing

| by Allison Geller

An Oklahoma man accused of murdering his aunt told investigators that he shot the woman and attempted to set fire to her house because he was tired of having sex with her in exchange for free rent.

In a bizarre murder case reported by Tulsa World, 50-year-old Verna Sarten was found dead in her home Chouteau Sunday morning. Her boyfriend, Gerald Howard, became worried when he couldn’t reach her and had a family member check on her. Sarten had been shot with a .22 caliber gun and was lying on the floor wearing no pants or underwear.

Adding to the suspicious circumstances, the central heating was on, the oven was on with the door open, and a space heater had started a paper fire and begun melting the carpet.

Jeremy Lee Sappington, 37, was booked for the murder Sunday. He reportedly shot his aunt, activated the heat, and left in her boyfriend’s Dodge pickup. Police found a matching shell on the seat of the car after picking him up for public intoxication.

Sappington told deputies from jail that he had been having sex with his aunt in exchange for a free place to stay. Sick of the relationship, he took the revolver that was under her mattress and shot her.

Sappington’s sister, Susan Kerr, said that they had had a rough childhood, particularly following their mother’s death. Her brother had gone in and out of juvenile hall, she said.

She suspects the sexual relationship was not consensual.

“When you’re treated right by somebody and you’re surrounded by people who don’t do that, you don’t forget that,” Kerr said. “She was very nice, and everyone in my family has come from this continuous cycle of a bad childhood.”

Sappington has an extensive criminal record and is being held without bond.

Sources: Tulsa World