Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Murder of Jeff Wright

So I'm a massive fan of the American series 48 hours, which is where I first came across this case. I've also seen a few other documentaries and also a film based on it called Blue Eyed Butcher.

Susan and Jeff Wright looking happy
The Case

On January 18th 2003 officials were informed by Susan Wright's solicitor that a body was buried at her home and she had admitted to killing Jeff Wright, her husband. He had been stabbed at least 193 times and then buried.
The crime had actually taken place days earlier when investigators say, according to the evidence, she had tied her husband to their bed and brutally murdered him. In the days between the murder and discovery of the body Susan had tried to clean the crime scene by painting the bedroom, and she also went to police to report Jeff for domestic abuse and get a restraining order even though he was already dead.


Susan and Jeff met in 1997 they married the following year while she was pregnant with her son, they went on to have a daughter as well. Susan was a stay at home mum, while Jeff worked full time.


The trial began in February 2004. Susan claimed that her husband began abusing her early in their marriage, and was a user of illegal drugs. She claimed she had killed her husband in self-defence, that on the night of the killing he had beaten her. The prosecutor didn't believe this and said she had seduced her husband and tied him to the bed, then brutally killed him most likely for his life insurance. It was a very dramatic trial where the prosecutor even brought the actual bed into court and did a demonstration of what happened using another prosecutor to show how Jeff was tied up. Susan emotionally gave evidence in her own defence and denied that it had been cold blooded murder, that she had been protecting herself and her children. She said the reason she stabbed him so many times was because she was convinced he was still alive and would get the knife off her and kill her with it. Her mother testified that she had seen bruises on her daughter. However the prosecutor said that there wasn't any proof of abuse.


Susan Lucille Wright was found guilty of murder on March 3rd 2004. She was sentenced to 25 years in prison.


Her conviction was upheld by the Texas Court of Appeals in 2005. In a re-appeal in 2008 an ex girlfriend of Jeff's gave evidence that she had been abused by him as well. In 2009 she was granted a new sentencing by the Court of Appeals, who said that her lawyer gave ineffective assistance during the penalty phase of the trial. In November 2010 her 25 year term was reduced to 20 years.

My Views

I am slightly undecided whether this is a case of cold blooded murder or self defence, although I tend to lean towards self defence. There was evidence from an ex of Jeff's who said he was previously violent to her. I think she just had enough and snapped, I think if she was as cold blooded as the prosecution said and planned the murder I think it would have been a more controlled killing rather than a frenzied attack. One thing I heard about this case that troubled me greatly was that at one point during the murder their son came into the room and Susan stopped what she was doing and took him back to his bed, I think if she could pause stabbing her husband to put her son to bed she could have come to her senses at the same time and stopped what she was doing and rang police. It also seemed that she tried to cover the crime afterwards if it was self defence why not phone for help straight away. I don't agree with the prosecution saying that because there was no evidence of abuse, like medical records or police reports, then that means there was no abuse.  I'm not an expert on domestic abuse but one thing I believe is that the violence is often kept secret and covered up,so just because it wasn't reported does not mean that it never happened.

I would like to hear your views on this case, let me know in comments.


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