Testimony: Jeskey told neighbor she struck husband with plastic bat in fight

Posted Dec. 17, 2013, at 1:32 p.m.
Last modified Dec. 17, 2013, at 6:21 p.m.
Roxanne Jeskey looks toward family members as she is led into the courtroom at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor on Monday for the start of her murder trial. Jeskey is accused of killing her husband Rick Jeskey in June 2011.
Roxanne Jeskey looks toward family members as she is led into the courtroom at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor on Monday for the start of her murder trial. Jeskey is accused of killing her husband Rick Jeskey in June 2011. Buy Photo

BANGOR, Maine — Just hours before her husband died, Roxanne Jeskey admitted to her next-door neighbor that she had struck him in the face with a plastic baseball bat and taken a pickax to his motorcycle, according to testimony Tuesday.

Kasey Ramisch took the stand on the second day of Roxanne Jeskey’s jury-waived murder trial at the Penobscot Judicial Center. She said that she heard loud banging coming from the Jeskeys’ apartment between about 6:30 or 7 p.m. and midnight June 12, 2011.

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. A broken flip phone was found on his chest. He was beaten and strangled, according to the autopsy.

She has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

The defense team also has said Jeskey was beaten the night her husband died and introduced photos taken by the police on June 13, 2011, that show bruises on her hands, arms, chest and legs.

The neighbor testified that she had several phone conversations with Roxanne Jeskey the night of June 12, 2011. In one, Jeskey admitted that she and her husband were fighting over his talking to another woman on his cellphone, Ramisch said.

Jeskey also told her neighbor that she had hit her husband in the face, that his nose was bleeding and that he had a loose tooth.

Dr. Michael Ferenc, the former medical examiner who performed the autopsy, testified that Richard Jeskey was beaten and strangled. His nose and three ribs were broken, Ferenc said.

Ramisch said she heard banging but not screaming from the Jeskeys’ apartment that night.

The neighbor testified that she visited Jeskey when Jeskey was hospitalized for heart problems sometime after the homicide and the defendant talked about the events that led up to her husband’s death.

“She said that he drank so much vodka that he fell down and that he struck his eye and it fell out,” Ramisch said. “She said that he broke off the towel rack and beat her with it. She said she didn’t do it but she also said that she just wanted to hurt him a little bit.”

Ramisch also said that Jeskey told her she left her husband in the bathtub to sober up.

Also on Tuesday, Richard Jeskey’s former girlfriend testified that he and a woman she believed to be the defendant called her the day he apparently died.

Melanie Ryan of Bangor testified that Richard Jeskey abruptly ended a two-minute phone call with her that afternoon. About 9 p.m., a woman called and said, “Who is this?” Ryan said she hung up and when the calls continued, kept answering and hanging up because she didn’t want the calls going to her voice mail, which identified her.

Ryan testified that she decided to change her voice mail message shortly before 10 p.m. Several weeks after Richard Jeskey died she discovered he had left her a voicemail at 9:49 p.m.

“I recognized his voice even though he did not sound normal,” she said. “It didn’t sound like he was breathing normally and his words were very slurred. It was hard to understand what he was saying.”

The message was played during Ryan’s testimony. Nothing Richard Jeskey said could be understood. A transcript of the call was not offered into evidence Tuesday.

Testimony is to resume at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. Members of the Bangor Police Department’s Evidence Response Team and personnel from the Maine State Police Crime Laboratory are scheduled to testify.

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.

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