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Leisa Hurst

Second arrest in connection with Hurst murder

Barstow woman accused of helping conceal crime

BARSTOW • A 23-year-old Barstow woman was arrested Tuesday after being accused of helping her friend conceal the killing of his 30-year-old Barstow girlfriend.

Joyce Fransson is being charged with being an accessory to murder and grand theft auto in connection with the murder of Leisa Hurst. Jeami Chiapulis, whom police claim also had a relationship with Fransson — and is married as well — accepted a deal and pleaded guilty to the second degree murder of Hurst on Nov. 6.

Police believe Fransson knew she was helping Chiapulis cover up Hurst’s killing on Jan. 22, according to a Barstow Police Department report. The pair abandoned Hurst’s Honda Element with the keys in it and windows down in Hesperia in an attempt to have it stolen.

Det. Keith Libby testified during Chiapulis’ preliminary hearing in June that Fransson told him that Chiapulis met her at California State University of San Bernardino on Jan. 22. Libby testified that Fransson said Chiapulis asked her where a high-crime area was to dump the vehicle. According to Fransson, he claimed a friend wanted to fake a vehicle theft. Libby said that Chiapulis then followed Fransson to Olive Street in Hesperia, where they left Hurst’s Honda Element before going to Chiapulis’ house. Hurst’s SUV was later discovered on Olive Street.

Police believe that after Fransson and Chiapulis left his home they took Hurst’s body to the desert. Fransson is accused of acting as a lookout while Chiapulis buried Hurst in a desert area near Newberry Springs, according to the report.

Although police interviewed Fransson during the initial investigation, detectives waited to charge her until they had enough evidence, according to Libby.

“We felt all along that she wasn’t being completely truthful,” Libby said. “Part of the reason we didn’t rush to arrest her was that we weren’t sure what was going to happen with Chiapulis’ case. We wanted to make sure we had everything.”

Hurst was reported missing January 22. Chiapulis checked himself into the psychiatric ward of an unidentified hospital on Jan. 26. Police  arrested at a Redlands motel on February 13 just after being released from the hospital.

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4126 or dheldreth@desertdispatch.com


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