State rests in murder trial; ER nurse says Jeskey told her she hit husband, cleaned up mess

Posted Dec. 19, 2013, at 12:56 p.m.
Last modified Dec. 19, 2013, at 2:51 p.m.
Roxanne Jeskey looks towards family members as she is lead into the courtroom at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor on Monday for the start of her murder trail. Jeskey is accused of killing her husband Rick Jeskey in June of 2011.
Roxanne Jeskey looks towards family members as she is lead into the courtroom at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor on Monday for the start of her murder trail. Jeskey is accused of killing her husband Rick Jeskey in June of 2011.

BANGOR, Maine — The murder trial of Roxanne Jeskey recessed about 12:30 p.m. Thursday after the prosecution rested so the defendant could consult with her attorneys and decide if she will take the stand in her own defense.

It was not clear whether the defense would begin presenting its case Friday or the trial would be recessed until Jan. 30. It was decided before the trial began Monday that no testimony would be heard next week due to the Christmas holiday.

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.

Before the state rested, a former emergency room nurse at St. Joseph Hospital testified that Jeskey calmly and matter-of-factly told her that she hit her husband again and again, then cut him.

“She said that he made quite a mess and that she had to clean it up,” Lorraine Morin said on the fourth day of Jeskey’s trial at the Penobscot Judicial Center.

Morin examined Jeskey on June 13, 2011, after Jeskey was taken to the hospital from her apartment complaining of chest pain.

Morin, who now works for Community Health and Counseling Services, also made a diagram that showed where on Jeskey’s body the bruises were located. She testified Thursday that many of the bruises appeared to be fresh and most likely had started to appear 12 to 14 hours before the exam.

Jeskey lost a considerable amount of weight and let her hair grow since she first appeared in court less than two weeks after her husband’s death. Several neighbors Tuesday commented on how different she looks now than she did 2½ years ago.

Although she spoke to her lawyers and family members, Jeskey often rocked back and forth during testimony and appeared not to be aware of what happened in the courtroom. She did not look at photographs of her husband’s naked body projected onto a large screen above her head or a smaller one on the defense table during the medical examiner’s testimony Monday.

Logan Perkins, a Bangor attorney, sat next to Jeskey taking notes on a laptop commuter. Perkins is not part of the defense team but was there to distill the evidence for the defendant because of Jeskey’s cognitive problems as a result of the removal of a brain tumor 10 years ago.

Jeskey has asked for short breaks all week after testimony to meet with Perkins so she can better understand and retain what witnesses have said and what evidence has been admitted. Breaks were more frequent Thursday morning and Jeskey appeared more confused by what was happening in court.

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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