BANGOR, Maine — When a nearly hysterical Roxanne Jeskey called 911 to report her husband’s death, she told a Bangor police dispatcher that “we had an all-out, blow-out fight,” according to the 911 tape played on the first day of Jeskey’s jury-waived murder trial at the Penobscot Judicial Center on Monday.
Roxanne Jeskey, 50, of Bangor is charged with intentional or knowing murder and depraved indifference murder in the death of her husband, Richard Jeskey, 53, in their Ohio Street apartment. His naked and bloody body was found June 13, 2011. He was beaten and strangled, according to autopsy results.
She has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Attorneys offered two very different explanations for what happened the night of June 12, 2011, in their opening statements.
Assistant Attorney General Deb Cashman said that Jeskey flew into a jealous rage when she found out her husband had been texting a former girlfriend on his cellphone. Jeskey repeatedly hit the victim with a plastic baseball bat that belonged to one of her grandchildren, burned him with a lighter, cut him with a razor and used a pair of needle-nosed pliers to inflict other wounds.
“The defendant poked, punctured, burned and strangled Rick Jeskey,” the prosecutor said. “She used anything she could find in the apartment [as a weapon].”
Defense attorney David Bate of Bangor said in his opening statement that Jeskey had a break from reality the night Richard Jeskey died and that she did not remember what happened. The evidence will show that Roxanne was beaten that night by her husband, he said.
“The walls of her mind started closing in. She became a wild animal and lashed out,” Bate said.
Dr. Michael Ferenc, who now lives and works in Phoenix, Ariz., testified Monday that Richard Jeskey died of strangulation and multiple traumatic injuries that resulted in a great loss of blood. He said the victim had bruises, cuts, scrapes and puncture wounds over all of his body. In addition, his nose and three ribs were broken.
Richard Jeskey also suffered internal and external damage to his genitals, the medical examiner testified.
Richard Jeskey’s blood alcohol level shortly before his death most likely was .12 percent, more than the legal limit of .08 percent for driving, the medical examiner said. The victim also had a blood pressure medication, a blood thinner and a sleep aid in his system. The sleep aid and the alcohol would have caused him to be “drowsy, sleepy and, if unconscious, difficult to arouse,” Ferenc said.
The medical examiner did not estimate a time of death but said that the victim had lost so much blood that there was almost none found in his heart during the autopsy.
Superior Court Justice E. Allen Hunter delayed the start of the trial Monday morning so he and attorneys could tour the apartment, now occupied by new tenants, where the crime allegedly took place.
Jeskey chose not to attend the tour, the judge said as he convened the trial.
The trial is scheduled to last seven days.
Last week, Hunter found Jeskey competent to stand trial after a two-day hearing. He was the second judge to find her competent in a year.
The trial is to resume at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday with the testimony of neighbors, some of whom spoke to Roxanne Jeskey as her husband reportedly laid dying in the couple’s bathroom.
Jeskey faces between 25 years and life in prison if convicted of murder. If found not guilty by reason of insanity, she would be committed to Riverview Psychiatric Hospital in Augusta until the staff deemed her no longer a danger to the community.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.