From money issues to unhappy marriages, every family has their own problems. The ones that look perfect on the outside, however, are just better at hiding the cracks.
With the stereotypical blonde housewife, two perfect children, an adorable dog, and a loving, family man father, one Texas family looked like they had it all. But on the night of January 13, 2003, that facade came crashing down…
Love At First Sight
In 1997, Susan Lucille Wyche met Jeff Wright when she went on a double date. Even though they had just met and barely knew anything about each other, the Texas natives had both fallen madly in love with one another by the end of their first date.
A Blonde Beauty
When the 21-year-old blonde met Jeff, who was almost 10 years older than her, she had been working as a waitress at a Galveston restaurant. Before then, however, Susan had worked as a topless dancer at a strip club after graduating from high school for 2 months…
After 2 months, Susan quit her job. She had saved up the money she earned as a stripper and decided to use her earnings to enroll in a nursing program at a community college. While in school, Susan got a job at a hair salon but she wasn’t making enough money and ultimately dropped out of the program.
A Party Boy
Jeff, on the other hand, had spent his teens and 20’s partying with his friends, who would binge on alcohol and cocaine together. Just before Jeff turned 30, however, he finally started thinking about wanting to get married and starting a family…
When Jeff met Susan the night of their first date, he was sure he had finally met the one and things quickly got serious. In 1998, Susan discovered she was pregnant with their first child and the couple got married when Susan was 8 months in.
That year, Susan gave birth to a son, who they named Bradley. A few years later in 2002, Susan became pregnant for the second time and gave birth to their first daughter, Kailey. During those first few years of marriage, it appeared Susan and Jeff were living in domestic bliss…
The Home Maker
Jeff was working as a sales representative for local carpet and tile companies and Susan stayed at home and spent her days caring for their 2 young children and maintaining the new home that they bought in the Cypress-Fairbanks section of Houston.
A Perfect Family
But in reality, the picture-perfect family was anything but. According to Susan, Jeff became increasingly controlling after Bradley was born. Jeff only allowed Susan to leave the house for short periods of time and forced Susan to tell him where she was at all times…
The Abuse Begins
Jeff also expected Susan to keep the house in perfect order. If one of the children’s toys were left out or dinner wasn’t ready and served on the table when he wanted it, Jeff would become physically and verbally abusive. As time went on, Jeff’s temper and the abuse only got worse.
According to Susan, she lived in constant fear of her violent husband and was regularly beaten and raped by him. And when Jeff did cocaine, which he did occasionally even though Susan always begged him not to, the violence escalated dramatically…
Living In Fear
Susan had never believed in divorce and was scared of what Jeff might do to her if she tried to leave him. So the terrified mother stayed by her husband’s side and tried her best to make their relationship and the family appear perfect. And to make sure no one suspected he was abusing her, Jeff was careful about where he hit her hard enough to leave bruises and marks.
The Breaking Point
Susan could tolerate Jeff’s abuse since it had only ever been aimed at her. However, when he came home on the night of January 13, 2003, Jeff’s violence was directed at one of their children for the first time. Susan had finally reached her breaking point…
On the night of the 13th, Jeff came home from a boxing lesson high on cocaine. Later that evening, Susan found her son Bradley crying and claiming that Jeff had hit him. Susan tried to talk with Jeff about getting help for his anger and drug issues. If he refused, Susan said she would be forced to leave.
Fighting For Her Life
According to Susan, Jeff violently attacked and raped her. Afterward, Susan was lying motionless in bed until she heard Jeff say, “Die, bitch.” Susan looked up and saw Jeff holding a knife over her. Susan managed to dodge Jeff and grab the knife from his hands. What happened next, however, would change everything…
Susan began stabbing Jeff over and over again and later claimed Jeff would have killed her if she didn’t stop him first. “I stabbed him in the head and I stabbed him in the neck and I stabbed him in the chest and I stabbed him in the stomach, and I stabbed his leg for all the times he kicked me, and I stabbed his penis for all the times he made me have sex when I didn’t want to,” Susan later said.
Cleaning Up The Mess
Susan then buried Jeff in the backyard and attempted to clean up the mess in their bedroom in the days after the murder. But she struggled to explain Jeff’s absence when his family and boss kept calling to speak with him. 5 days after Susan killed Jeff, she admitted what she had done to her mother, who immediately contacted a good lawyer…
Turning Herself In
Susan told her attorney, Neal Davis, what she had done and turned herself in on January 24. Days later, Susan was charged with murder and police discovered Jeff’s body in a shallow grave. An autopsy revealed Jeff had been stabbed about 193 times but none of his injuries were fatal on their own.
Over a year later, Susan’s murder trial finally began on February 24, 2004. Susan pleaded not guilty because the murder was done out of self-defense. Assistant district attorney Kelly Siegler argued that Susan had never been abused and was really a calculated killer. Siegler claimed Susan seduced her husband the night he was murdered, tied him to the bed, and stabbed him in order to collect his $200,000 life insurance policy. Siegler even had the couple’s bed brought into the courtroom to show jurors how defenseless Jeff was while tied to the bed posts…
Susan’s defense argued the mother of 2 had been a victim of domestic abuse for years and that friends and family had witnessed evidence of the abuse. “I knew as soon as I stopped, he was going to get the knife back and he was going to kill me. I didn’t want to die,” Susan testified. Davis argued that Jeff also had wounds on his hands as he tried to defend himself, meaning he couldn’t have been tied up. Davis also argued the police ignored evidence of past abuse throughout the home and that Susan had no knowledge of Jeff’s life insurance policy.
On March 3, 2004, the jury found Susan guilty of murder. She was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Susan’s lawyers have since tried to appeal the decision and have presented new witnesses to confirm Jeff’s history of violence as well as new evidence from a medical examiner who found a significant amount of cocaine in Jeff’s system. On November 20, 2010, Susan’s sentence was reduced to 20 years. Susan has been denied parole twice since and is next up for parole in July 2020 when she is 44 years old.