Courts & Crime

Officer: Woman couldn't get husband's body into freezer

FORT WORTH — Trying to get rid of her husband's body after shooting him last year, a Texas woman wrapped the body in sheets, dragged it through their apartment and tried to push it into a freezer she had bought for disposing of it, a police officer testified Tuesday.

But when she couldn't get the body in the new freezer, Patricia Jeffress decided to surrender to authorities, Euless police Sr. Cpl. Joe Hoerth told a Tarrant County jury.

Joe Jeffress' body was in the couple's Euless apartment three days before his 53-year-old wife reported the shooting to employees in the apartment complex office.

"I tried not to leave a mess," Patricia Jeffress told Hoerth in a recorded interview with the officer on May 15, 2009. "I thought maybe he would be OK there" in the freezer, she said.

The recording was played on the first day of testimony in Jeffress' murder trial in Criminal District Court No. 432.

In crime scene photos shown to the jury of seven men and five women, a freezer is tipped on its side with Joe Jeffress' body wrapped in sheets next to it. Blood smears are on the garage floor, and an ax was next to the body.

A frail and calm Patricia Jeffress showed no emotion as the photos were presented on a screen to the jury.

She is accused of fatally shooting Joe Jeffress, 59, in May 2009 at their apartment at the Oakmont of Bear Creek Apartments, 2121 Bear Creek Parkway in Euless. If convicted, she could be sentenced to life in prison.

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