Three options? Messages detail conversations between Beau Rothwell, mistress leading up to pregnant wife’s murder

“I feel terrible inside, I’m a [expletive] mess. I feel trapped,”
Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 1:38 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - The murder trial for Beau Rothwell, a St. Louis County man accused of killing his pregnant wife, entered the second day Wednesday.

In 2019, 29-year-old Beau Rothwell was accused of killing his six-week pregnant wife Jennifer Rothwell. The couple began dating while studying at the University of Missouri-Columbia and moved to the St. Louis area for work. They later married in 2015. Fast-forwarding to four years later, Beau Rothwell reported his wife missing on Nov. 12, claiming he last saw her leaving their home on Northwinds Drive that morning.

Inside the St. Louis County courthouse Wednesday, Prosecuting Attorney Thomas Smith echoed as he presented evidence. Smith called St. Louis County Homicide Detective Robert Bates to the stand. Bates was involved in the beginning stages of the investigation and the missing person’s report. As Bates answered questions, Smith positioned himself at the edge of the jury stand and inches away from the stands filled with Jennifer Rothwell’s family.


Sourcing cell phone data secured from T-Mobile through a search warrant, a call log showed several calls from Jennifer Rothwell’s phone to Beau Rothwell’s phone on Nov. 12. At 7:29 p.m., records show Beau Rothwell called his late wife. Smith alleges Jennifer Rothwell was killed during the overnight hours on Nov. 11.

Data also showed Beau Rothwell made frequent calls to an unknown number. Detectives later identified the number belonged to a woman whom Beau Rothwell was having an affair with. Bates said the woman came forward after seeing news reports that Jennifer Rothwell was missing. The woman provided detectives with flirty messages, sent through Facebook Messenger, between herself and Beau Rothwell that spanned for months -- including conversations on the day of his wife’s murder, Smith alluded.

During his testimony, the 9-year homicide veteran read messages between the lovers. Under a Facebook account with the name Chef Beaurdee, Beau Rothwell ended things with the unidentified woman on Oct. 27 after learning of Jennifer Rothwell’s pregnancy.

“I thought I would have the courage to go through a divorce by now,” Beau Rothwell wrote. When asked by his lover how long he had thought about getting a divorce, Beau estimated about two to three months.

Despite agreeing to end the affair, the duo still communicated often. As the jury listened to the details of the romance, Beau fiddled with his tie before staring straight at the wall.

Smith zeroed in on four important dates: Oct. 29, Oct. 30, Nov. 3, and Nov. 4. On Oct. 29, Beau Rothwell confessed that he broke off the affair due to the pregnancy announcement.

“I can’t focus or do anything productive. There is a big thing I have to tell you.”

“I’m in panic mode Lol”

“Jennifer took a pregnancy test, and it came back positive.”

“I want to be with you instead. I have no [expletive] clue what to do.”

Beau repeatedly clicked his pen in court as he listened to the messages being read.

“Believe me, this is NOT what I want. I feel terrible inside, I’m a [expletive] mess. I feel trapped,” he wrote.

The following day, Beau Rothwell wrote that “part of him wants this pregnancy to not work out.”

But in cross-examination, the defense tried to show that Rothwell wasn’t opposed to having children. The woman he was having an affair with wrote that he had always wanted a kid so “it’s a good thing.”

Bates then testified that Beau and the woman reportedly outlined three possible scenarios for his future with his lover:

Option # 1: Say goodbye and move on

Option #2: Tell Jennifer that he had an affair and wants a divorce. However, he typed this scenario would be financially draining with juggling a child and trying to start a new life.

Option #3: Wait to see how the pregnancy goes. He stated he would leave if she miscarried or if something else happened.

Rothwell’s Defense Attorney Charles Barberio asked Bates in cross-examination did “something” mean murder and the detective admitted it was open to interpretation and that there was never a mention of killing Jennifer Rothwell in their message on Oct. 29. Barberio then points out that during the pair’s conversation on Oct. 30, Beau Rothwell types he will “turn onto option #1″ if everything goes well with the pregnancy.

Messages between the pair confirmed they met up and had sex on Nov. 3.

On Nov. 4, Jennifer Rothwell was visiting websites and forums with the topic of “Husband doesn’t care about pregnancy. What do I expect?” The prosecuting attorney argued Beau was discussing that he planned to choose option #3 regarding his future. Six days after her disappearance, Beau Rothwell cooperated with police and told them where her body was dumped at along Highway 61 near Troy, Mo.

The morning after the killing, Beau Rothwell messaged the woman saying he didn’t get much sleep due to a stomach bug.

During the afternoon testimony, the jurors were shown the basement carpet and reddish-brown stains on them by the prosecution. The jury consists of five white men, one black man and six white women.