Football Player, Wife Charged in Death of His High School Cheerleader Ex

A football player at a small North Carolina university and his wife were charged with murder in the stabbing death of his ex-girlfriend, a high school cheerleader in South Carolina.

Pernell Clayton Thompson, 20, and Yolanda Dee Thompson, 19, were being held Monday at the Union County jail, accused of killing 16-year-old Marisha Jeter, authorities said.

Jeter was the junior class president, a cheerleader and honor roll student at Union County High School.

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Pernell Thompson, a junior at Wingate University, was placed on interim suspension Monday, school spokeswoman Jennifer Gaskins said.

Police said Thompson's wife did not like him maintaining contact with Jeter. The Thompsons were married in the summer and have a child together.

Jeter was reported missing Thursday night and her body was discovered under a bridge two days later. Her car was found torched in another county.

It was unclear whether the Thompsons had an attorney; county officials did not immediately know. A message left on Pernell Thompson's cell phone was not immediately returned, and a bail hearing has not been scheduled.

Jeter's body was discovered by an art student who was taking photographs at the bridge in Lockhart, which is about 10 miles northeast of rural Union.

Cell phone text messages showed Jeter agreed on Thursday night to meet Pernell Thompson behind a YMCA, where the couple were waiting, authorities said.

"The boy and his wife met her and killed her in the back parking lot," Union Public Safety Department Chief Sam White told The Union Daily Times for Monday's newspapers. "He stabbed her in the neck and they loaded her in the car and took her to Lockhart."

Jeter's bright pink 1994 Toyota Celica was driven into a neighboring county and set on fire, authorities said.

Wingate is a private liberal arts college with about 2,000 students located just across the North Carolina state line. Thompson had 22 catches for 286 yards and three touchdowns last season.

"Everyone's in shock at this point," Wingate football coach Joe Reich said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victim."

Jeter's brother told The Associated Press on Monday that his sister was a kind, special person who loved to sing.

"Her voice would bring tears to your eyes," said T.J. Jeter, 21. "She started singing when she was 3-years-old and I would take her to places with me and let her sing."

The chief echoed those sentiments.

"The young lady had such a promising looking future and so did the young man," White said. "It's just a senseless tragedy."