Trial begins for West County man charged with killing his pregnant wife

Published: Apr. 25, 2022 at 7:01 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 26, 2022 at 7:25 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A St. Louis County jury started hearing evidence against Beau Rothwell, the man charged with killing his pregnant wife, Monday.

Rothwell is accused of killing his wife Jennifer Rothwell in November 2019. Police said she was six weeks pregnant when her husband Beau killed her and then dumped her body near Highway 61 near Troy, Mo, just 40 miles away from their home near Creve Coeur.

‌In opening statements, assistant prosecuting attorney Thomas Smith told the jury that there was a great amount of evidence that Beau Rothwell killed his wife.

“Struck her in the head with violent homicidal force and crushed her skull,” he said.

And Smith said Rothwell had time for cool reflection before the killing.

In his opening statements, lead defense attorney Charles Barberio might’ve suggested to jurors that Rothwell killed his wife, but said it wasn’t premeditated.

“In a heat of sudden passion he killed Jennifer,” he said.

Barberio claimed the killing happened during a heated argument after Beau admitted he was having an affair.

According to court documents, Beau Rothwell told officers he last saw his wife Jennifer Rothwell when she was leaving their home on Northwinds Drive to go to work at 6:20 a.m. on Nov. 12. According to phone records, Beau Rothwell missed four calls from his wife. Around 8 p.m., Beau Rothwell said a co-worker of Jennifer Rothwell’s informed him she never showed up for work. They then searched for her car and found it parked on the shoulder of Olive Blvd., about a 1.2-mile drive from the Rothwell home.

Jennifer Rothwell case: Timeline of events

An officer who responded to the location of the car testified that Beau Rothwell was crying but that his “crying appeared to be overplayed” and that he seemed overly upset.

Surveillance video caught the St. Louis County man buying cleaning products including bleach, carpet cleaner, and gloves on Nov. 11, the day before Jennifer Rothwell was reported missing. Two days later, police obtained a search warrant for the Rothwell home where detectives found a wet carpet soaked with bleach and large areas of blood, police said.

Police: Jennifer Rothwell looked up ‘what to do if your husband is upset you are pregnant’ before going missing

Detectives used Jennifer’s parents DNA to compare it to the blood found in the house. That DNA was a match.

Six days later, Beau Rothwell’s attorney Charles Barberio announced his client was cooperating with police.

On Nov. 20, a body found along the highway was identified as Jennifer Rothwell.

Rothwell faces a first-degree murder charge. In Missouri, a first-degree murder charge comes with mandatory life in prison sentence with no chance of parole.