A January 2022 trial date has been scheduled for Jason Emory Whittaker, the man accused of killing 54-year-old Teresa Lynn Mathena Greer and setting the downtown Marion home she was in on fire this spring.
Marion police officers traveled to Surry County, N.C. in mid-November to transport the 37-year-old back to Smyth County where he faces murder, arson and abduction charges in Greer’s death. Whittaker was indicted by a grand jury in May, but has been held in North Carolina on an assault with a deadly weapon charge after law enforcement there say he attacked a man with a machete.
The North Carolina arrest came the day after the Marion Police Department, the Smyth County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshal Service launched a large-scale manhunt to find Whittaker following Greer’s killing.
Suspects who face charges in two states typically stay in the state they were arrested in until those charges are resolved, but Commonwealth’s Attorney Roy Evans said Surry County prosecutors had Whittaker’s secured bond there amended to an unsecured bond to allow him to be brought back to Virginia to face the more serious charges.
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The investigation into Greer’s death began after police found her body inside the burned home on North Chestnut Street in Marion. Marion Police Chief John Clair said Greer had been staying at the home prior to her death.
According to a search warrant affidavit filed at the Smyth County Court House, Greer was found lying face down in the bathroom area of the home with suspected blood around her face and head. Several samples of red stain were taken from in and around the bathtub and one from the bathroom door.
The medical examiner later ruled Greer’s cause of death as blunt force trauma. Investigators also noted in the affidavit a long nylon strap wrapped around Greer’s neck. The strap appeared to have been tied to a shower rod, the document said.
Whittaker also faces an additional cruelty to animals charge stemming from the death of Greer’s pet dog which was inside the home when it caught fire. A necropsy report determined that the dog suffered from smoke inhalation.
Represented by Abingdon attorney Jimmie Hess, Whittaker is scheduled for trial Jan. 31.