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On Thursday, jurors found 31-year-old Beau Rothwell guilty of first-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence and abandonment of a corpse in connection with the 2019 death of his wife, 28-year-old Jennifer Rothwell.
Beau Rothwell admitted to the slaying but claimed it was not premediated in an unsuccessful bid to sway the jury in favor of a manslaughter conviction instead of murder.
In testimony during the trial, Rothwell told the court that he and his wife had a heated argument in November 2019 about an affair he was having with another woman.
Rothwell explained how he came up to his wife from behind and struck her head with a mallet, stalked her as she attempted to stumble away and then struck her again. She was six weeks pregnant at the time.
“In the heat of everything, I hit her again,” Rothwell told the jury, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I believe I cracked her skull, she fell unconscious and fell down the stairs.”
Police found Jennifer’s bludgeoned body about a week later 45 miles away from their home. Rothwell had wrapped a plastic bag around her head and secured it with duct tape, removed her clothes and then dumped her body and covered it with brush in a wooded area, according to the newspaper.
In a social media post published hours before he was arrested, Rothwell played the role of a distraught husband looking for his college sweetheart.
“Some of you may have heard already, but last night my wife Jennifer went missing,” Rothwell wrote on Facebook, according to the Associated Press. “I’ve filed a police report and the search is ongoing. Please, if you hear of anything or have any information it would be greatly appreciated.”
The jury reached the guilty verdict after deliberating for about 3 hours, KMOV-TV reports. He reportedly showed no emotion while the verdict was read, according to the television station.
Rothwell is scheduled to be sentenced July 8; he faces life in prison without the chance of parole.
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