Text helped police find suspect in Varina stabbing death

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A deaf Varina man with a history of mental illness and felony convictions is accused of murdering the woman with whom he lived. Tonight, we're learning more about that victim and the accused killer.

Freddie L. Cephas, 37, faces a charge of first degree murder in the stabbing death of Hazel Jackson, 58. Prosecutors say Jackson was stabbed four times before her body was discovered Monday night. Relatives say a text message helped police find the troubled suspect.

When the fingerprinting was done, and the cop cars were gone...all it took was a text message to find Freddie Cephas.

The investigation began just after 7:00 Monday night. Hazel Jackson was found stabbed to death in the Varina Point Lane house she shared with Cephas. But as the police sealed off the crime scene, Cephas was nowhere to be found.

Prosecutors say Cephas, who is totally deaf, left the property and texted his aunt Monday night admitting his involvement in the murder. That same relative said Cephas then went to the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority's crisis center in downtown Richmond, where police were eventually able to make the arrest.

"Freddie was not taking his meds to control his anger," said Connie Robinson after her nephew's arraignment Tuesday morning. "He needed treatment."

Prosecutors say Cephas has nine felony convictions on his record, and hasn't had a job in about 20 years. He's been in and out of treatment centers, relatives say, but needed more care.

"For Freddie to text me and to go himself to the crisis center, he's asking for help," Robinson said.

Fearing that her nephew would do something to put his life in jeopardy, Robinson said it was she who tipped police that Cephas was not at the house, but instead at the crisis center. Fighting back tears, she said "I'd rather for him to be locked up, than dead."

Robinson said Cephas and Jackson met the crisis center, and were living together in Varina for about a year. What remains unclear is exactly what led up to the stabbing.

Cephas remains behind bars. The judge ordered him held without bond. He's due back in court in May.

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