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Husband Charged With Killing Wife, A Former Prosecutor, On New Year's Day
A Texas community is grieving after former Assistant County Attorney Venisa McLaughlin — who'd issued protective orders against alleged domestic violence offenders as part of her job — was murdered, and her husband arrested for the crime.
A Texas woman who spent her career helping to prosecute criminals, including domestic abusers, was murdered on New Year's Day, and her husband has been arrested in the case.
Jeffrey Bryan McLaughlin, 58, is charged with first-degree felony murder after his wife was found dead on Jan. 1, according to local newspaper, Hood County News. Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds told reporters they were “actively investigating” the case while remaining tight-lipped on the details, including a cause of death.
The victim was confirmed to be Venisa McLaughlin, a former Hood County assistant county prosecutor who once combatted domestic violence by issuing protective orders as part of her job.
Hood County Attorney Matthew Mills e-mailed a statement to Oxygen.com in the wake of Venisa’s death.
“I woke up this New Year’s morning to hear heartbreaking news. Our former assistant county attorney, who started with me on my first day in office, was killed this morning,” wrote Mills. “She served our office for over five years, and she helped us through some trying times at the start of my first term.”
Mills added Venisa “helped tremendously” with his 2020 re-election campaign and that his prayers were with the victim’s family, including her two daughters.
Mills said Venisa joined the Hood County Attorney’s Office six years ago and left at the end of April, but that her departure was “on friendly terms,” according to Hood County News.
Just hours into the new year, Hood County deputies responded to the couple's Pecan Plantation home in Granbury, Texas, about 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth, according to a release sent to Oxygen.com by Lt. Joshua Lane.
"On Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, at about 3:21 a.m., [the] Hood County Sheriff's Office responded to a residence in about the 6100 block of Westover Drive, Granbury, Hood County, Texas, regarding an assault with mentions of a person possibly being deceased on scene," according to the release.
Authorities say both Jeffrey and Venisa McLaughlin were transported to Lake Granbury Medical Center, where the victim was pronounced dead.
Pecan Plantation is described as a “treasured” gated community, according to its website.
“Once you pass through the security gates and drive over the Brazos River, you will quickly realize that special Pecan Plantation feeling,” the website states. “Nestled among thousands of mature pecan trees, Pecan Plantation offers country club amenities, parks, a commercial center, access to Lake Granbury and the Brazos River, and a host of friendly residents.”
Venisa vied for a seat on Pecan’s Board of Directors earlier this year, according to Hood County News.
On Monday, Pecan Financial Services LLC — a Texas-based financial practice — issued a statement following the murder.
“Our office will be closed the next day or so as we mourn the loss of Venisa McLaughlin, who was an important part of our operations and an asset to our community and all who knew her,” the company wrote. “We ask that you keep her family in your prayers as things are sorted out.”
In December, when the company was named Best Financial Advisor by the National Association of Senior Advocates, the LLC recognized Venisa, who “started co-officing with us this year to help provide a more cohesive experience for our clients in need of estate planning." Venisa also helped clients with long-term-care planning, according to their post.
Numerous Facebook posts show Venisa donated thousands of dollars as part of local fundraisers and state records offer she was still eligible to practice law in Texas.
Oxygen.com contacted the Hood County Sheriff’s Office for information about the murder, but a records specialist said they were withholding the incident report due to the matter being an open or pending investigation.
Jail records show Jeffrey McLaughlin was arrested on Jan. 1 at around 2 p.m. and booked into the county jail a short time later, where he remains held on a $250,000 bond, according to the sheriff's office's statement. A legal representative was not listed on his behalf.