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Man Accused Of Killing Wife 22 Years Ago Found Guilty Of Second-Degree Murder

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Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ)—The Howard County man accused of choking his wife to death 22 years ago and then burying her body in the backyard of their Elkridge home was found guilty of second-degree murder.

Derek Valcourt has more on the case and the closing arguments.

Prosecutors argue this man’s trial for killing his wife ends a decades-old mystery, but the defense was trying to convince jurors that there wasn’t enough evidence to convict him. They say they’re not even sure that it was his wife’s body that was found.

By the time police found Christine Jarrett’s body buried beneath a shed in the backyard of a home she once shared with her husband and two young sons, 21 years had passed and her remains had badly decomposed.

Prosecutors say Jarrett’s dental records, including crowns, fillings, missing teeth,  a root canal and dentures, all matched up with the body found buried with some of her personal items, including clothing, jewelry and photos of her sons.

But defense attorneys for her husband Robert Jarrett tried to cast doubt, accusing prosecutors for failure to conduct DNA tests on the body before her now two grown sons could have her remains cremated.

“Maybe at best they believed it was Ms. Jarrett in the backyard. They still failed to throw nothing other than theories with respect to how she came to be out there,” said George Psoras Jr., defense attorney.

Psoras gave jurors plenty of theories, suggesting maybe Christine Jarrett was killed by a man she was having an affair with, maybe she died of natural causes or perhaps suicide. The defense even suggested she died of autoerotic asphyxiation and her husband buried her in a panic.

But the assistant state’s attorney blasted back, saying all of the evidence proves that the killer was Robert Jarrett, who was motivated by money and hatred.

“It’s his wife under his shed in his yard of his house, and no one else’s,” said assistant state’s attorney Jim Dietrick Sr. in closing arguments.

Jarrett will be sentenced on Aug. 8. The maximum prison sentence is 30 years.

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