A former Payson resident is awaiting trial on charges of first-degree premeditated murder after he allegedly killed a former Payson woman Tuesday morning, claiming voices told him to murder his roommate.
Sgt. Dan Masters, a Tempe Police Department spokesman, said officers were dispatched to Virginia Nicole Hall's apartment in the 900 block of East Baseline Road in Tempe at 11:49 a.m. Tuesday to conduct a welfare check on her after her mother was unable to get in touch with Hall and became concerned.
Hall's mother, Jan, first became concerned when her daughter's employer called her on Tuesday to say that Hall had failed to show up for work.
Jan asked apartment management to check on her. Upon entering, they saw blood and called police.
When officers entered the apartment, they found Hall's body with numerous stab wounds to her neck and torso.
Hall, 20, was already deceased when officers arrived, Masters said.
Officers found Jody Cline, 20, hiding in a bathtub in the apartment. Masters said Cline was drenched in blood, and had small self-inflicted cuts to his arms and wrists.
There was a lot of blood in the apartment.
"It was a savage, brutal scene with blood scattered everywhere," he said.
Cline made some initial statements indicating his involvement in Hall's death.
"He said voices told (him) to kill her," the police sergeant said.
Masters said Hall and Cline were not boyfriend and girlfriend but were acquaintances from Payson.
He said that Hall was allowing Cline to live in the apartment. He had been living there for awhile.
Hall's other roommate, Annie, was in Payson at the time of the incident that took place between 9 p.m. Monday and 8 a.m. Tuesday.
Though they could not determine the exact time of her death, police noticed Hall was not dressed for work.
‘Daughter was always for the underdog,' mother says
Jan said she knew Cline well. She had fed him and let him sleep on her couch occasionally.
"Nicki was always for the underdog," she said. "All the kids helped (Cline) out."
Jan last spoke to her daughter Monday night at about 8 p.m., and her daughter was at a barbecue at 9 p.m. She had been in Payson over the weekend.
Jan Hall said she took her daughter, Cline, and another friend to the Fourth of July Town Lake fireworks in Tempe.
Virginia Nicole Hall, who went by the name Nicki, graduated from the Payson Center for Success in April 2005.
Payson Police Sgt. Tom Tieman was in constant contact with her mother until a positive identification was made. He told her at 3 p.m. Tuesday that Tempe police had discovered a deceased woman in the apartment.
Jan said since her daughter's roommate was in Payson at the time she knew it had to be her daughter.
"I screamed for two days," her mother said. "I screamed and cried."
Jan said her daughter, who was a receptionist for a real estate company, loved all-terrain vehicles and the outdoors and spent many Sundays working on her ATV.
Hall was working on obtaining her real estate license, but was not going to start selling real estate anytime in the near future.
"She wanted to get the license, and was wanting to follow in her mother's footsteps (who is a real estate agent)," said Valerie Lubken, a friend of the family.
She said the question remains on what happened that caused Cline to commit this act.
Cline had been fired from his job on Friday.
"Why were we not taking care of this kid?" Lubken asked. "What could have been done differently? Were we doing enough?"
Jan said those questions remain unanswered. She could have never imagined Cline would harm her daughter.
She said he helped her build a gazebo at her home and cleaned her daughter's apartment and walked her dog for letting him stay at the apartment.
Jan said her daughter loved to shop and work out. She ran two miles a day.
Cline made local news in Payson in February 2004 when he disappeared after being dropped off by friends at the South Circle K.
Payson police later located him four days later at a local motel. At the time, his mother said her son disappeared because he was upset and needed some time alone.
This is not Cline's first brush with the law.
According to court documents, Cline was arrested for possession and use of marijuana in February 2005 and was placed on 12 months probation. An arrest warrant was later issued for him for violating terms of his probation, court documents say.
Cline is being held without bail at the Madison Street Jail on charges of first-degree premeditated murder.
His preliminary hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. July 21 at the Mesa Regional City Court, 222 E. Javelina in room 201-202.
The Stockman's Bank at 816 S. Beeline Highway in Payson has set up an account to help benefit Hall's family.
-- To reach Michael Maresh call 474-5251 ext. 112 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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