A Monmouth County jury found a 52-year-old man guilty in the 2019 killing of the woman who had opened up her home to him.

Ronald Teschner was convicted of murdering 65-year-old Jacqueline Terrulli and setting her million-dollar house on fire. Rescuers struggled to find her body, which eventually was unearthed on her property months later.

Teschner was not in the courtroom when the verdict was read because of safety concerns created by his disruptive behavior during the trial. He yelled at his lawyer and claimed false evidence was used by prosecutors.

Theft was a motive

Teschner was staying at a home owned by Terrulli on Wickapecko Drive in Ocean Township when prosecutors said he set the house on fire on Sept. 12 and drove off in her Jeep, leaving neighbors to call 911. Other relatives living at the home were on vacation at the time.

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Prosecutors said Teschner — who the victim had known as a handyman who needed a helping hand — attempted to steal from Terrulli the day of the fire. When she caught him in the act, he killed her and later used nail polish remover to set her house ablaze.

Teschner has been in custody since his arrest the next day in Paterson, where he was found inside Terrulli's Jeep Cherokee. The vehicle was filled with various items that belonged to Terrulli, including two shotguns, prosecutors said.

Teschner was already an ex-convict whose criminal history includes convictions for robbery, burglary and assault.

Terrulli not found for nearly a year

The victim's remains were found at the property in June 2020 by workers demolishing the house.

Teschner was later charged with first-degree murder, first-degree felony murder, second-degree disturbing human remains, first-degree robbery, second-degree aggravated arson and three counts of theft.

The jury also found Teschner guilty of burglary, aggravated assault on two firefighters for injuries suffered while responding to the fire, possession of a controlled dangerous substance and two counts of unlawful possession of a weapon and one count of resisting arrest, according to Asbury Park Press' coverage of the verdict.

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