Texas Custom Corvette Shop 1983 Triple Murder Goes to Trial
Written by Steven Symes, Motorious
Published Nov. 28, 2022
Shocking news came out of League City, TX, the morning of Nov. 3, 1983, when three employees were found dead inside Corvette Concepts.
The custom auto shop was usually a place where customers’ dreams were made reality, contrasting sharply with the grisly triple homicide, which eventually went cold.
However, authorities now believe they have their man and prosecutors will have their shot in court for the suspect to be found guilty.
The man police believe is responsible for the murders of Thomas Earl McGraw, 28, Beth Yvette Wilburn, 25, and James Oatis, 22, is Jesse Kersh, 64. Kersh worked for Corvette Concepts but always maintained that when he left on the evening of Nov. 2, 1983, the three victims were not only present but alive.
According to the Galveston County Medical Examiner’s Office, each victim had been brutally murdered. Wilburn was stabbed 114 times in the torso, as well as shot in the head. McGraw was shot seven times and stabbed 15 times. Finally, Oatis was shot eight times in the head.
At the time, Wilburn was co-owner of Corvette Concepts. McGraw was an employee and Oatis was a contracted electrician who was doing work at the shop on that fateful day.
After the case sat cold for a long time, modern science helped crack it open, along with a witness coming forward with information. The first break came in October 2006, when Darryl Krogman told FBI agents he was with Kersh when the man bought a .22-caliber handgun at a show months before the murders. What’s more, he said, Kersh asked him to make a silencer for the firearm not long after.
It was in 2013 when investigators who were looking into the cold case caught a break, finding markings on one of the .22-caliber bullets at the crime scene which they believed indicated a sound suppressor had been used on the gun.
Investigators examined DNA which had been collected from under Wilburn’s fingernails. Often, victims of close-contact crimes are able to scratch their killer while defending themselves, leaving behind evidence. The conclusion was the DNA could have come from Kersh, who “could not be excluded as a contributor to the genetic material.”
Kersh was arrested in 2016 and was officially charged with the murders. Now that the trial will finally happen, many will be watching it closely.