A Pennsylvania woman is now facing murder charges in connection to the death of her husband, who was found dead after first being reported missing late last year.
Janet L. Winbush, a 50-year-old Brighton Heights woman, was charged with murder and abuse of a corpse in connection to the death of 53-year-old Deric Davis, the City of Pittsburgh Public Safety confirmed to Oxygen.com. Winbush turned herself in to police Tuesday.
Davis, who was reported missing after having last had contact with a family member on December 14, 2020, was found dead a week later, on December 22, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police confirmed in a news release. His remains were found in a private residence in Brighton Heights; police confirmed that his manner of death was a homicide.
Winbush and Davis, who occasionally lived with each other and had a daughter together, had a rocky relationship, according to the victim’s family, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. When the couple’s daughter came to visit in early December and noticed that her father did not come to pick her up from the bus station, as usual, she and the rest of his family began searching for him. Winbush had helped in the search, calling local hospitals in an attempt to find Davis, a criminal complaint obtained by the outlet alleges.
When police arrived at Winbush’s home on December 22, officers first noticed the smell of a decomposing body before finding Davis’ body near the porch. His remains had been wrapped in trash bags that were duct tape and hidden underneath a deflated air mattress, the outlet reported.
When no one answered the door at the home, officers forced their way inside and apprehended Winbush in the basement, the Post-Gazette reported. During an interview with police, she reportedly admitted to stabbing Davis to death but told investigators that she did so after he began choking her following an argument. He was the one to brandish the knife first but she was able to wrestle it away from him and then use it to defend herself, Winbush reportedly told authorities.
Police documents state that Davis died from a stab wound to the chest, according to the Post-Gazette. Other possible evidence discovered at the scene includes blood found in the home, a nearly empty roll of duct tape, and signs that someone had recently tried to clean portions of the carpet with bleach, according to the documents.
Davis’s loved ones are challenging the idea that Winbush murdered her partner in self-defense. Stacey Davis, his sister, told WPXI that her brother was estranged from his wife and wanted to end their relationship over her menacing behavior. She said she believes that he went to Winbush’s home that day to tell her that he wanted a divorce, which is when she said she believes was when Winbush “got upset and stabbed him.”
“My brother was mild-mannered, he had all the friends in the world, he wouldn’t hurt a flea,” she told WPXI. “He was just all around a good person. That self-defense she is claiming is a lie. She stalked him his whole life. She harassed him his whole life.”
It is currently unclear if Winbush has responded to the charges or if she has an attorney who can speak on her behalf.
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