OCEAN TOWNSHIP – After a month-long trial, a Township man has been convicted of murdering a family friend over three years ago and setting her home on fire, officials said.
Ronald J. Teschner, 52, was convicted of first-degree Murder, first-degree Felony Murder, first-degree Robbery, three first-degree weapons offenses, second-degree Aggravated Arson, second-degree Desecration of Human Remains, third-degree Aggravated Assault, third-degree Burglary, third-degree Robbery, three counts of third-degree Theft, a third-degree drug offense, and fourth-degree Resisting Arrest, all in connection with the death of 65-year-old Jacqueline C. Terrulli.
On September 12, 2019, at about 7:30 a.m., the Wickapecko Drive residence was discovered to be completely engulfed in flames. Once the fire was extinguished, a joint investigation was launched by the Ocean Township Police Department and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, in conjunction with the Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office.
Authorities quickly determined that Terrulli and Teschner were missing along with Terrulli’s 2019 Jeep Cherokee.
In the early morning hours on September 13, 2019, Teschner was located in Paterson alone in Terrulli’s car. The car contained various items including clothing, shotguns, jewelry and lawn equipment all belonging to Terrulli. As a result, Teschner was arrested and lodged in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution (MCCI).
On February 24, 2020, a Monmouth County grand jury returned a 16-count indictment against Teschner for the murder of Terrulli.
The body of Jacqueline Terrulli was found on June 18, 2020. Her remains were discovered wrapped in plastic and buried several feet underground. As a result of the fire at the 6,000 square foot residence, extensive charred rubble had collapsed upon and covered the burial site.
“This was a genuinely monstrous crime, hallmarked by callous brutality – Jacqueline Terrulli welcomed the defendant into her home to live, and as a result of that charity, lost her life,” Acting Monmouth County First Assistant Prosecutor Michael J. Wojciechowski said. “While this verdict can’t bring her back, we hope it offers some sense of solace to her family and friends, knowing that justice has been served.”
Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for February 7, 2023, at which time Teschner will face a term of up to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The Prosecutor’s Office thanked the numerous agencies that participated in this investigation and/or the extensive search for Terrulli’s remains, including the Ocean Township Police Department, Paterson Police, Wayne Police, Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office, Monmouth County Public Works, Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office K9 Bomb Squad, Bloodhound, Regional Dive and Search Team; Bergen County Sheriff’s Office K9, Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, a New Jersey Office of the Attorney General Division of Criminal Justice Recruit Class, New Jersey Turnpike Authority, New Jersey State Fire Marshal’s Office and K9 Accelerant Dog, New Jersey State Police K9 Cadaver Dog, Missing Persons Unit, Police Regional Operations Intelligence Center (ROIC), and Police Laboratory; New Jersey Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory, New Jersey Transit Police Dive Team and Police Boats, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Quantico Laboratory and Cellular Analysis Survey Team (CAST), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) K9 accelerant Dog, Critical Research Group, the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), and the University of North Texas.