A grand jury indicted a Mesa man Friday of first-degree murder, sexual assault and kidnapping in the presumed death of a Gilbert woman missing since Jan. 28.
Jonathan Ian Burns, 25, a convicted felon who is not allowed to possess a gun was also charged with illegal possession of a handgun.
“Physical evidence recovered near the defendant’s home indicates that the victim was assaulted and murdered,” said Barnett Lotstein, a prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
The indictment leaves open the possibility that “one or more other persons” assisted in the crimes.
Previous to the indictments, Gilbert police had only announced the arrest of Burns’ on suspicion of kidnapping and sexual assault. The homicide charge was added after the arrest on Jan. 29, and police have been reluctant since then to describe the case as a homicide investigation.
Hartman met Burns at a gas station a few days prior to her disappearance, and she was on a date with him the night she disappeared.
Gilbert and Chandler police later found Hartman’s blood-stained and bullet-ridden shirt in a trash bin near Burns’ home, along with other items such as Hartman’s ripped bra.
Police and volunteers have searched unsuccessfully for Hartman’s body in the desert northeast of Fountain Hills off Highway 87.
In order to provide financial relief for expenses incurred by the Hartman family during their ongoing search for their daughter, an account as been established at Bank of America on their behalf.
Donations can be made at any Bank of America branch to the Jackie Hartman Fund, Account No. 457002996435.
County Attorney Andrew Thomas will make a determination about seeking the death penalty for Burns within 60 days.