By David Madden

GLOUCESTER COUNTY (CBS) – A Gloucester County jury took five days of deliberations to convict a 34-year-old Woodbury man of murder one in the death of a Clarksboro woman more than a decade ago.

Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton concedes that convicting Brian Mertz was not easy. It took more than six years to link his DNA to the brutal stabbing of Jennifer Whipkey after she had gone to a nightcluib in May 2002. Her body was found just yards away from the West Deptford motel where Mertz was staying at the time.

“After 10 long years, justice was finally served for Jennifer Whipkey, her mother and the rest of her family.”

Mertz gave investigators two conflicting stories, at first contending he didn’t know Whipkey, then saying they had sex, but he didn’t kill her. The murder one conviction means Mertz will be sentenced to 30 years to life for the crime.

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