ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – St. Petersburg police detectives recently got a break in a 10-year old murder case, and it came by way of a guilty plea.
On March 31, Jacobee Flowers pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge. As part of the agreement, he will serve 25 years in prison if authorities find Morgan Martin’s remains, or 40 years in prison if her remains are not found.
Martin was 17 years old and 4 months pregnant when she vanished from her St. Petersburg home in 2012. She left the home to meet the father of her unborn child, Jacobee Flowers.
According to court documents, Flowers was concerned if she had the child, he would get into legal trouble as he was 24 years old at the time, and she was underage. He was also concerned about the effect it would have on another relationship he was involved in.
Detectives investigated for years, but they had no body. They suspected Flowers had something to do with Martin’s disappearance, but they didn’t have enough evidence, until July of 2016. Four years after Martin originally disappeared, police arrested Flowers on a first-degree murder charge.
They used evidence they found at a KFC where he worked as well as extensive cell phone records to prove he was involved in her disappearance and ultimately, her death.
After pleading to the second-degree murder charge, he told police detectives they could find Martin’s remains in a field in Pike County, Alabama.
Detectives from the St. Petersburg Police Department have been there all week. Yolanda Fernandez, a spokesperson for the department, says so far they haven’t found anything.
“We are looking at a cotton field by the side of a highway on a 50 plus acre farm,” said Fernandez. “Honestly, we have been pointed in one area, but it has been ten years.”
Fernandez says now that Flowers has entered a plea, detectives only want to find the remains to provide closure for her loved ones.
“Our aim at this point, now that we have a conviction, is to bring Morgan home to her mother,” said Fernandez. “And that has been our aim from the beginning. To bring justice for Morgan and for her family. “
8 On Your Side reached out to Martin’s mother, Leah, but she wasn’t up to doing an interview today. We also requested an interview with Jacobee Flowers in jail, but he denied our request.
His sentencing is scheduled to take place on April 28.