Police reopen case from 1985 after man says he killed teen

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GASTONIA, N.C. —

Almost 30 years after police told a family their teenager killed himself, the family found out he may have been murdered.

Margret Farmer wiped tears from her eyes as she talked about her son's death.

“I would like to see some justice come,” she said.

She hopes a handwritten letter titled “Confession to murder” will bring her family peace. In it, Jerry Case, a federal inmate serving 30 years for carjacking and kidnapping, detailed how he said he killed 17-year-old Chris Farmer in 1985.

“If he is guilty, he needs to be punished for it,” said Randy Farmer, the teen’s father.

Case said he shot and killed the 17-year-old so he could take his money, and then put his body on the railroad tracks near Ozark Avenue in Gastonia. Police found Farmer's body after a train hit him.

Farmer's parents said weeks later, a friend who visited the jail came to them.

“He said that he overheard Jerry Case bragging that he had killed my son,” Margret Farmer said.

Police said despite the confession, there are two major roadblocks: They have already investigated Farmer's death and ruled it a suicide, and Case has a history of lying to police about his involvement in crime.

But police have reopened the case. They said their problem now is finding witnesses to back up Case’s claims. Some of them have married and taken new names, and one has died.

They said they are in the preliminary stages of their investigation.

In his confession, Case wrote, "I refuse to stop until somebody listens to me."

The Farmers said they welcome Case's effort to clear his conscious, but they are still angry at him.

“If he is hunting sympathy or forgiveness, he is barking up the wrong tree for me,” Randy Farmer said.