ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A man convicted in the brutal killing of his pregnant wife in their St. Louis County home has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Beau Rothwell was found guilty in April. He admitted he hit his pregnant wife Jennifer in the head with a mallet in 2019. He said he told her he was having an affair. Investigators say they argued and he hit her before she died.
Rothwell claimed it was not pre-meditated but the jury found him guilty of first-degree murder, tampering with evidence, and abandonment of a corpse.
Rothwell was sentenced to life in prison on his first-degree murder charge, four years in prison for tampering with physical evidence, and four years in prison for abandonment of a corpse. The third count’s sentence runs consecutive to the other two. A jury convicted Rothwell on all three charges on April 28.
Before his sentence, Rothwell made a statement in court and addressed Jennifer’s family and friends: “Words can’t begin to describe how horrible this was and I’m so sorry about what happened,” said Rothwell.
Jennifer’s mother joined virtually and delivered the following impact statement:
“They thought he was a great guy, but in the end, he lied to the family. Jennifer will never have a chance to hold her child in her arms. Jennifer will never know the joy of taking her daughter to trick-or-treating in matching costumes. Our entire family attended the murder trial. Our family would like to thank police and prosecutors for investigating her senseless death.”
During testimony, Rothwell said he struck Jennifer in the right side of the head with a mallet once in a “red haze” of anger and then again when she tried to flee him in order to stop her. That in itself was an admission that the second blow was deliberate.
The medical examiner’s conclusions and other physical evidence, however, did not support Rothwell’s narrative. The medical examiner testified that the fatal wound to the right side of the victim’s head was the result of a single blow with a weapon much sturdier than a mallet, such as a baseball bat.
“We rejected all offers for plea negotiation in this case,” said St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell. “We knew with a conviction on Murder 1st Degree that this man who killed his pregnant wife would spend the rest of his life in prison without eligibility for parole. That is what we intended for him to do, and today confirms that is what he is going to do.”
Also, Rothwell testified that he struck her upstairs starting at the dinner table and she rolled down the basement steps only after the second fatal blow when all of the victim’s blood that he failed to congeal entirely was found on the basement carpet near the bottom of the steps. The physical evidence supports the state’s argument that Rothwell ambushed the victim near the bottom of the basement steps.