BANGOR, Maine — The brother of the man savagely murdered three years ago by Roxanne Jeskey in the couple’s bathtub said after she was sentenced Friday to 50 years in prison that Richard Jeskey was a victim of domestic violence.
“This is definitely a situation of domestic violence that we’ve seen far too much of in our state,” David Jeskey, a retired Bangor firefighter, said at an impromptu press conference outside the Penobscot Judicial Center. “We want to make two things very clear: First of all, domestic violence can happen to men just as much as it can to women, and if you are in a situation of domestic violence, please call somebody. If you witness a situation like this, please call the police. Get involved. Don’t let this sort of thing ever happen again to anybody.”
Superior Court Justice E. Allen Hunter imposed a basic sentence of life because the “monstrous way” Roxanne Jeskey murdered her 53-year-old husband was tantamount to torture and involved a sexual assault. He said the mitigating factors — including the fact that she has no criminal history, underwent brain surgery a decade ago that left her with cognitive difficulties, and her mental health problems — called for a sentence of 50 years.
Roxanne Jeskey did not react to the sentence, but members of her family sitting behind her in the courtroom sobbed.
“We were satisfied with Judge Hunter’s verdict and are satisfied with the sentence he delivered today,” David Jeskey, 50, of Bangor said outside the courthouse. “This has been a very long and arduous journey these last three years, and we’re glad to have this part finally behind us. From here, we would like to get on with the rest of our lives, in peace.”
Before being sentenced, an emotional Roxanne Jeskey, 51, of Bangor apologized to her husband’s family and said she regrets her actions the night of June 12 to 13, 2011.
“One thing I wish most is that all would be well with the Jeskey family with no sorrow,” she told them. “I will forever be sorry for my husband’s death.”
David Jeskey said outside the courthouse that family members “were struck with the fact that she still has no remorse for what she’s done. She regretted some of the actions that she’d [taken]. But, still, regretting is not the same as remorse,” he said.
Members of the Jeskey family urged Hunter to impose a life sentence. They described Roxanne Jeskey as “cruel” and “a liar” who showed no remorse for her husband’s death.
Roxanne Jeskey’s older sister, Wanda Dunivan, tearfully asked for mercy. She said her younger sister was abused by her husband, an allegation his family denied.
Assistant Attorneys General Leane Zainea and Deb Cashman, who prosecuted the case, urged Hunter to impose a life sentence. The defense team of Joseph Baldacci and David Bate, both of Bangor, urged the judge to impose a 25- to 30-year sentence because the crime was a result of her mental health problems.
Jeskey pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the charge but twice was found competent to stand trial. She was found guilty May 30 of intentional and knowing murder and depraved indifference murder in connection with the death.
Her jury-waived trial was held before Hunter in December and January.
Hunter said in his written verdict that he found the testimony of Dr. Michael Ferenc, former deputy medical examiner, “compelling.”
Richard Jeskey suffered extensive multiple blunt and sharp force injuries to the head, neck, torso, limbs and genitalia, Ferenc said in the autopsy report. He also was strangled with sufficient force to break the hyoid bone of his neck, Ferenc testified last year.
The hyoid bone is the bone located at the top of the neck under the chin.
The judge concluded the injuries were inflicted with a plastic baseball bat, razor, wooden and metal rods from broken towel racks, a pair of needle-nosed pliers and perhaps other implements.
“Any one of these injuries standing alone manifests a depraved indifference to the value of human life,” Hunter said. “Taken together, they reflect a monstrous savagery and cruelty that defies comprehension.”
Bate and Baldacci have filed a motion for a new trial arguing that Roxanne Jeskey was “psychotic” during her trial because she was not properly medicated. That made it impossible for her to make an informed decision about whether to take the stand in her own defense, the attorneys argued.
“She has told us that if she had been taking the medication she is taking now, she would have testified,” Baldacci said.
Hunter is expected to schedule a hearing on the motion in late summer or early fall.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.