ST. LOUIS COUNTY POLICE
Beau Rothwell was found guilty of first degree murder.
Yesterday, a St. Louis County jury delivered a guilty verdict in the murder trial of Beau Rothwell, a 31-year-old Creve Coeur man who killed his pregnant wife Jennifer Rothwell in 2019. Rothwell was 28 at the time of her death.
Rothwell's defense didn't contest that he killed his wife, but argued that it hadn't been premeditated. Rothwell testified on his own behalf in the three-day-long trial, saying that he acted in a "red haze" of anger brought upon by what he said was Jennifer telling him she was cheating on him and the unborn child was not his.
In Rothwell's version of events, Jennifer told him this just after he confessed to her that he had been carrying on his own affair.
Rothwell said that, overcome with anger, he hit his wife in the head with a mallet. Severely injured, she ran toward the attached garage. Before she made it into the garage, Rothwell hit her again, killing her.
"The medical examiner testified that the fatal wound to the right side of the victim's head was the result of a single blow with a weapon much sturdier than a mallet, such as a baseball bat," the St Louis County Circuit Attorney's Office said in a statement last night.
The statement also said that the physical evidence pointed to having ambushed his wife at the bottom of their home's basement steps, contrary to Rothwell's version of events.
The jury did not buy Rothwell's "red haze" story, finding him guilty of first degree murder, meaning they believed Rothwell acted with deliberation. The jury also found him guilty of evidence tampering
and abandoning a corpse, two charges the defense did not contest.
The evidence tampering charge stemmed from Rothwell's attempts to clean up the crime scene in his house.
The third charge came as a result of driving his dead wife to a wooded area near Troy, where he left her naked body, as he told detectives, "on the side of the road in the brush.”
The prosecution introduced as evidence messages between Rothwell and his mistress. Some of them were sexually explicit, and in others Rothwell openly debated reasons to stay with or leave his wife.
According the the Circuit Attorney's Office, in one message to his mistress, Rothwell wrote that he was discontented with his wife but also found his current infidelity untenable. He had come to the conclusion that he had three options: break up with the mistress, get a divorce, or hope for "a miscarriage or something."
The prosecution argued that Rothwell's "something" meant premeditated murder.
Beau and Jennifer Rothwell met at Mizzou and after graduation moved to St. Louis in 2013. They had both worked in engineering.
"This is why we do this job," St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell said in a statement. "When we are able to bring justice to a family that has lost a loved one, and lost her in such a brutal manner, there is no better feeling in the world. Hopefully Jennifer can rest in peace and her family can finally get closure. Justice was truly served."
Rothwell will be sentenced on July 8.