Jury will hear confession elderly woman's suspected killer

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Jonathan Kendrick thought a 78-year-old grandmother Loreta Jackson would be an easy target.

Prosecutors say he broke into her home, beat her to death with her own vacuum cleaner, stole her cell phone and $20, and took off.

That was nearly four years ago. Now, Kendrick is going to trial on murder charges but before he gets in front of a jury, his defense says some evidence being used by the prosecution should not be allowed.

In court, his defense team wanted Kendrick's admission to police thrown out, especially when Kendrick admitted to raping Jackson after he killed her.

His public defender Dana Herce says there is no evidence to prove Kendrick did so, not even from a DNA expert.

"She's not saying Mr. Kendrick's DNA is present, she's not saying it's not. What’s she’s saying is she can't conclusively say so. There is no physical evidence as it relates to DNA to support something was done to the descendant after her death," argued Herce. 

But Hillsborough Prosecutor Justin Diaz said the evidence at the scene points to a sexual assault. He says a male's DNA was found on the victim and Jackson's clothes were removed.

"Her state at the time she was found is completely consistent with sexual acts," said Diaz.

That was enough for Hillsborough Judge Mark Wolfe to rule in favor of the prosecution.

"The court finds that the victim's position coupled with the fact that her clothes were removed could be enough to fulfill the circumstantial evidence requirement that would allow the state to go forward with the confession," said Wolfe

Kendrick's trial is set for August. He plans to use the insanity defense to beat murder charges.