crimesider

Arizona teen, 16, charged as adult in sex act homicide

16-year-old suspect Jessica Berlew.
CBS affiliate KPHO, Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Authorities said that a 16-year-old girl accused of strangling a man while having sex has been charged as an adult, reports CBS affiliate KPHO.

According to Sgt. Jay O’Neill, Jessica Berlew was arrested after police found the dead body of Jason Ash, 43, at 5:45 p.m. on Saturday in a Glendale apartment. The Phoenix man had several cuts on his body and a cord around his neck, police said.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office confirmed that Berlew is being charged as an adult.

According to the murder suspect’s mother, who police say made the 911 call to report the crime, she left her 16-year-old daughter and her daughter’s male friend, Ash, in the apartment. The mother later got a call from her daughter saying that Ash had died as a result of a consensual sex act involving strangulation, police said.

According to police, Berlew fled from the apartment while the mother tried to save Ash. The girl was then taken into custody after she returned to a neighboring apartment.

Police said Berlew confessed to strangling Ash during a sex act and then later cutting him.

 “There are currently no charges pending against the suspect’s mother, however the case is still under investigation,” O’Neill said.

The teen has a mental illness and a history of running away, Glendale police said. Berlew is being held on suspicion of second-degree murder.