TAMPA (FOX 13)
Tampa police have arrested a man they said killed a 78-year-old woman.
Jonathan Kendrick is accused in the murder of Loretta Jackson last Saturday. Police said all it took was some forensic evidence and a suspect who was willing to confess to killing a woman he didn't even know.
James Dixon had to spend Tuesday going through his mother's belongings inside her ransacked home.
"My mother, she was a good person," Dixon said.
He said the crime is very hard for him to process.
"She was a great, gifted woman," Dixon said. "She liked to draw, crochet, cook, all the Christmases and New Years holidays. This time, she's not going to be there."
That's because Kendrick, a stranger young enough to be Jackson's grandchild, took her life, according to police.
Early Saturday morning, police said Kendrick broke into Jackson's home. He thought it was an "easy lick," which is a street term for an easy burglary.
"She was home. I think he was surprised by that. She confronted him as any of us would have, and just said, 'Why are you in my house?'" Tampa police spokesperson Steve Hegarty said.
Kendrick told police that he asked her, "Where the money at?" before Jackson started to scream.
That's when police said he punched her until she fell, struck her several times with a vacuum cleaner, and then smothered her with a pillow until she had no pulse.
According to investigators, Kendrick got away with her EBT card, cell phone, driver's license and $20 cash. Kendrick was later caught on surveillance video carrying Jackson's items. In addition, police said forensic evidence linked him to the scene.
"We were able to pick him up on another crime that happened earlier," Hegarty said. "Once we brought him in and started questioning him, we've been talking to him for most of the day, he made a number of incriminating statements."
While the arrest brings relief, Jackson's son is thinking more about his mother than the man who took an older woman's life.
"It's going to be one step and one day at a time," Dixon said. "Love your mothers, love your families, take care and watch over."
Kendrick is charged with first-degree murder, armed burglary with battery, armed robbery and dealing in stolen property.
He's also charged with resisting without violence after running away from officers during his arrest. Police said they had to use a taser on him to take him into custody.