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Missouri Man Who Beat His Pregnant Wife To Death Sentenced To Life Behind Bars

Beau Rothwell was convicted in April of murdering and discarding the body of his pregnant wife, Jennifer Rothwell, in 2019. He had reported her missing and joined the search after killing her.

By Jill Sederstrom
Beau Jennifer Rothwell Pd

A Missouri man who beat his pregnant wife to death in their home before discarding her naked body in the woods will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Beau Rothwell was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2019 death of his 28-year-old wife, Jennifer Rothwell.

Jennifer had been six weeks pregnant.

Her mother, Robin von Hausen addressed the court via video on Friday, describing all the moments her daughter would miss in life, whether it was time with her family, the final “Game of Thrones” book or experiencing motherhood, according to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“Jennifer will never know the joy of holding her child in her arms,” she said. “Instead, she walked her through heaven’s gates.”

During his first-degree murder trial, Beau never denied killing his wife but claimed that he struck her in the head with a mallet in a “red haze” of anger during an argument about an affair he was having, according to a statement from the St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Beau testified that he hit her a second time — sending her falling down the basement stairs — to try to stop her from fleeing.

However, prosecutors argued that the attack had been premeditated, pointing to conclusions from the medical examiner and physical evidence at the scene that suggested that Jennifer had been ambushed near the basement steps with a weapon stronger than a mallet, like a baseball bat.

After killing his wife, Rothwell wrapped a plastic bag around her head with duct tape and discarded her naked body in the woods near Troy, Missouri.

Before reporting her missing, he tried to clean up his crime scene with bleach and paper towels, but investigators discovered the bleach- and blood-soaked carpet in the home and arrested him.

Investigators discovered that, shortly before she was killed, Jennifer had done an online search for “what to do if your husband is upset you are pregnant,” according to search warrants obtained by KSDK.

A jury agreed the killing had been premeditated and convicted Beau in April of first-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence and abandonment of a corpse.

In court Friday, Beau apologized to Jennifer’s family.

“I think about Jennifer every single day,” he said, according to the local paper. “I am just sorry for everything.”

In addition to the life sentence, Beau was also sentenced to four additional years for the abandonment of a corpse, KSDK reports.

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell said after the sentence was handed down that he was pleased with the outcome.

“We issued this case of murder first and as we stated in sentencing today, we never made any other offers," Bell said. “That was not an option. We felt that this individual needed to be held accountable for his actions and that’s what we were intent on doing.”

He added that he hoped the sentence would provide Jennifer’s family with some measure of justice.

“We know we can’t bring Jennifer back or her child and so, as far as our roles are concerned, we wanted to be able to bring justice and closure,” he said.