Sex offender pleads guilty in fiancee's beating death

Jacksonville detectives found woman's body in Bartram Park condominium

By Frank Powers - Assignment manager

Wilford Chason appears in Duval County court

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A convicted sex offender accused of beating his 48-year-old fiancee to death last October pleaded guilty Wednesday.

Wilford Chason agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Jennifer Herbert, who was found dead Oct. 15, 2018, in their Bartram Park condominium. He will be sentenced Feb. 25.

Chason was arrested in Daytona Beach after he was released from a hospital where he was held under the Baker Act after he tried to kill himself while driving on Interstate 95.

Deputies said a call from OnStar informed dispatchers that the driver of an SUV had cut himself with a razor. On I-95 in Palm Coast, deputies caught up with the vehicle, which investigators say was traveling at approximately 90 mph.

A deputy did not pursue the driver, identified as Chason, and told an OnStar operator to slow the vehicle down, the Flagler County Sheriff's Office said. The SUV pulled into a weigh station and came to a halt after running over a stop stick.

Investigators said Chason had self-inflicted lacerations to his arms, neck and other parts of his body. A deputy found a gold engagement ring on the ground next to the driver's side of the SUV. The ring, which had blood on the band, was taken into evidence.

Chason was taken to a hospital, where police in Daytona Beach said he confessed to killing a woman he identified as his wife and told them where her body could be found.

Jacksonville officers sent to the Twinleaf condominiums off Bartram Park Road -- the address listed for Chason on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's sex-offender registry -- found Herbert's body.

Chason was convicted in Duval County in 1999 of robbery, attempted kidnapping, and lewd and lascivious behavior with a child younger than 16. He has been on the sex-offender registry since his release in 2011, when he listed his address as Sorel Street in Middleburg. According to the FDLE, he has lived in Bartram Park since 2016.

Mug shots of Wilford Chason from Florida Department of Corrections, FDLE, Volusia County

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