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Crime News Killer Relationship With Faith Jenkins

Jelka Pesic Uses True Crime Book As Blueprint to Terrorize And Murder Her Former Daughter-In-Law

Alexandra Pesic was disturbed when she received a copy of a true crime book in the mail with chilling passages highlighted. She was even more frightened when a passage came to life.

By Becca van Sambeck

Alexandra Pesic was relieved when her tumultuous custody battle with her ex-husband came to an end. 

Alexandra, the child of working-class Yugoslavian immigrants who lived in a suburb of Vancouver, Canada, was a former beauty queen, who competed for the Miss Canada title in 1985. Her looks garnered her quite a bit of male attention.

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"The guys flocked to her. She was tall, she was beautiful, she could charm herself into anything," her friend Angie Casoria told Killer Relationship With Faith Jenkins, streaming now on Peacock, with her friend and coworker Bernice Courson adding, "Alex was blonde, beautiful, striking. She had a wicked sense of humor."

Alexandra, a 20-year-old dental assistant, loved to spend time with her mom. One of their hobbies was attending local open houses — and at one a woman overheard them speaking Yugoslavian. She, too, was from there, and introduced herself. Her name was Jelka Pesic.

How did Alexandra and Joe Pesic meet?

When Alexandra needed her car serviced, she took it the auto shop owned by Jelka Pesic. There she met Jelka's 27-year-old son, Joe Pesic, who also worked there. Sparks immediately flew between the two, and they began a relationship.

"He always showed up with flowers, took her to the nicest restaurants. Joe had a motorcycle so they'd go riding a lot," Casoria told producers.

After just one month of dating, Joe proposed.

"It was a dream come true for [Alexandra's] mother and Jelka," Casoria explained

Alexandria Pesic Kr 103

But the wedding planning process led to some tension between Jelka and Alexandra. Jelka had strong opinions, and she clashed with Alexandra, according to Casoria. The tension was so stressful, Alexandra began to have doubts about marrying Joe.

But on June 11, 1988 the wedding went ahead. And even after the couple was officially married, Jelka continued to be a domineering presence in their life.

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"Jelka wanted control over decisions they made — anything Alex was doing, anything she was wearing ... Alex felt as a couple they should be making their own decisions," Courson explained.

But then Jelka gave them an offer they couldn't turn down: she and her husband, Joe's father, offered to give them a substantial down payment to help them pay for a house that was close to their own. The pair accepted, but arguments followed, including fights over getting a backsplash in the kitchen, according to Alexandra's friends.

Some good news finally arrived at the end of 1989 when Alexandra and Joe announced they were having a baby. Unfortunately, the arrival of baby Brandon led to the biggest fight yet between Jelka and Alexandra. The couple headed out for a date night, with Jelka watching the baby. She told Alex she had made the six-month-old a special tea to help him sleep, but Alexandra demanded she didn't give it to the child.

When they came home, the baby was sleeping so deeply Alexandra couldn't rouse him and barely felt a pulse. Jelka admitted to giving him the tea. 

Baby Brandon recovered, but Alexandra was furious Jelka had ignored her wishes. She took the child with her to her mother's and gave Joe an ultimatum.

"She was very disappointed Joe didn't put her first before his parents .. she could not continue living like that and didn't want to raise a child in that stressful environment," Courson explained.

Two years into the marriage, Alexandra filed for divorce, and it grew ugly. There was a fierce custody battle over Brandon, and the pair clashed over ownership of the house, and finances. Ultimately, Alexandra was awarded full custody, child support, and possession of the home. In November 1991, the divorce was finalized.

On August 5, 1992, Alexandra and her coworker Courson were heading to Alexandra's car in their work parking lot.

"She got into her side and I walked around to the other. I was putting my gym bag between my feet when I heard the first bullet ... I knew she'd been shot and I knew it wasn't good ... Her shoulder and her head hit my back and as soon as I felt the bullets had stopped, I could hear the wheels of a car pulling away. I looked at her really quickly and I jumped out of the car and I ran into the office to get the doctor we worked for. It was a nightmare," Courson recalled.

Alexandra was rushed to the hospital, where she died from her gunshot wounds. She was 25 years old.

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There were many witnesses to the crime. More than 30 people in the area told investigators they saw a flashy red car in the neighborhood with two young dark-haired men inside. One witness had even seen the red car pull up beside Alexandra's car, shoot her, and drive away. The witness gave police a license plate number.

When authorities ran the plate, they learned it was a car that had recently been stolen.

Investigators questioned Joe, who had an alibi: He had been at a swimming pool with his son miles away. He even had a receipt of his admission to the pool.

Friends told investigators another disturbing detail: Before Alexandra was killed, she had received a paperback book in the mail about a woman, Cindy James, who had been "terrorized" before being killed, according to Neal Hall, a reporter and the author of the book in question, "The Deaths Of Cindy James." Passages were highlighted, including one about James' lawn being set on fire.

A few days later, Alexandra and Casoria were in Alexandra's living when they heard crackling in the front yard. It was in flames. Alexandra also noticed a car had been following her.

"Everything that happened to that woman that was underlined in the book was systematically happening to her," Casoria said.

Alexandra claimed she knew what would happen next: the person stalking her would arrange to have her shot. So she hired a private investigator to learn who was tormenting her.

That private investigator did get in touch with police after she was killed, and gave useful information. The day of the murder his team was surveilling Joe, who was indeed at the swimming pool. He also had eyes on Joe's parents who were in the automobile shop at the time of the killing. They all had alibis.

The investigator also gave them the license plate number of a white car that had been following Alexandra.

The stolen red car eventually turned up — it was found by a McDonald's. Investigators were able to recover a fingerprint and a hair. They also had a witness, who said they saw two men get out of the red car, jump into a white car, and leave.

They found that the white car's license plate number belonged to Milan Nenadic. His fingerprints were on file due to a previous conviction, but they weren't a match for the one in the red car. Those belonged to a petty criminal named Lawrence Delorme.

The two men were immediately put on round-the-clock surveillance. On August 10, Nenadic headed to the Pesic house and got in the car with Jelka. He laid down in the car, so as not to be seen driving with her. They drove to the mall, where they entered separately, before shortly returning to the car. Nenadic again laid down to stay hidden. 

Authorities made the call to pull him over and arrest him as he tried to drive away. When he was taken into custody, money fell out of his shorts: $30,000.

A Pesic family friend soon called with more damning information: She said weeks earlier she had seen Jelka set fire to Alexandra's yard. She also confirmed Jelka had a copy of "The Death Of Cindy James." She also revealed Nenadic was another family friend who had come to their home earlier. When he left, Jelka said, "That's good then. It'll soon be over.

It was enough to arrest Jelka for murder. A search of her residence turned up the murder weapon. Police also found a note from Delorme's residence with Nenadic's name, phone number, and address, successfully connecting the two men. It seemed Delorme was the driver, Nenadic supplied the weapon and the car, and Jelka was the mastermind. But who was the shooter?

Police then found a piece of paper with a partial address and the name David Segoviano. When they went to the address, they spoke with Segoviano's roommate, who revealed Segoviano had recently cut his hair and provided clippings of it to them. It was a match to the hair found in the getaway car. His address book provided a connection between himself and the other two men. 

A girlfriend agreed to wear a wire tap, and was able to get Segoviano to confess to his role in the murder and implicate others on tape. It was just the evidence police needed.

Where is Jelka Pesic now?

In 1993, all four, including Jelka Pesic, went on trial and were convicted. They were all given the maximum sentence for first-degree murder in Canada: 25 years.

Where is Joe Pesic now?

Joe Pesic was never charged with a crime. His son Brandon went to live with Alexandra's mother, according to a 2008 report from the Vancouver Sun.

Where to Watch Killer Relationship With Faith Jenkins

You can stream Seasons 1 and 2 of Killer Relationship With Faith Jenkins on Peacock.

Originally published Jan 30, 2022.