NJ man is convicted in '02 murder of young mother

WOODBURY, N.J. (AP) - October 25, 2012

A jury in Gloucester County deliberated 17 hours over five days before convicting Brian Mertz in the 2002 slaying of Jennifer Whipkey.

The 22-year-old Whipkey's body was found in a field in West Deptford. She had been stabbed multiple times. Her body was discovered near a motel where Mertz had been staying. Whipkey had a 4-year-old daughter at the time of her death.

Mertz became a suspect after he gave a DNA sample in 2005 after being arrested on drug charges. He was charged in 2008.

He also faced sexual assault charges but those were dismissed by a judge during his trial.

Mertz faces a minimum 30-year prison term when he is sentenced in January.

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