Neighbor: 'We always had suspicions' about Jeffries
Living across from William Clyde Jeffries for more than 40 years, Shirley Cochran says she had long suspected her neighbor was involved in the 1981 murder of seven-year-old Conrad Roger "C.R." Diaz.
"When it first happened, [police] came straight here to his house and questioned him," claimed Cochran. "And they either didn't have enough evidence or whatever."
Jeffries, 53, was arrested Wednesday, charged with the murder of Diaz on June 24, 1981.
Police allege that Jeffries confessed to the 1981 slaying. He would have been 17 at the time of the incident.
According to the criminal complaint, Diaz sustained "multiple injuries resulting in death," in the North View section of Clarksburg. The document does not reveal much else about the case, including a motive.
Standing outside Jeffries' house Thursday, Cochran said Jeffries is mentally impaired and doesn't "have the right mind."
"He was mentally ill, and besides, with the molestation that he had done," Cochran said, referring to Jeffries' 2002 conviction of sexual abuse against a young teenage boy.
Jeffries served two-and-a-half years behind bars for the crime, as well as five years of probation. He is listed on the state's sex offender registry.
"We were concerned," Cochran recalled. "I had four kids--three boys actually--so I had to keep close eyes on them."
In recent years, though, Cochran's view of Jeffries as a threat began to fade.
Neighbors tell 5 News that his physical health has steadily deteriorated, and his sister takes care of him.
"They were always quiet," said Michael Parsons, who lives next door to Jeffries. "Didn't bother anybody."
Cochran, meanwhile, says the arrest marks a new chapter for a community looking for answers for nearly 40 years.
"I'm just glad [the Diaz family] is going to get justice," said Cochran.