Jury finds Navy wife guilty in murder of husband
SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A woman who stabbed her Navy doctor-husband in bed
three months after learning he was having an affair was convicted Wednesday of
Jennifer Trayers, 43, stabbed Dr. Frederick Trayers on the morning of
Dec. 4, 2010. Prosecutors had sought a first-degree murder conviction, while a
defense attorney urged jurors to convict Trayers of voluntary manslaughter.
The seven-woman, five-man jury deliberated more than three full days
before reaching its verdict.
Trayers faces 16 years to life in prison when she is sentenced March 9
by Judge Joan Weber.
Deputy District Attorney Fiona Khalil said she was satisfied with the
“I feel that we gave the jury everything that we could possibly give
them,” the prosecutor said outside court.
By its verdict of second-degree murder, the jury found that the killing
was intentional but not premeditated.
Defense attorney Kerry Armstrong said he was “sad” about the outcome.
“Obviously, second-degree is better than first-degree, but it's still
very disappointing, when you put your heart and soul into a case for 12 months –
– 14 months — and she's not going home in a couple years like I'd hoped.”
Armstrong said Trayers had very little to say after the verdict was
“She feels absolutely horrible about what happened to her husband,”
Armstrong said. “I know this sounds strange to say, but she still loves him,
she really does.”
In her closing argument, Khalil said the defendant lied and presented a
“false concoction” when she told the jury how she killed her 41-year-old
Trayers testified that she was frustrated by her husband's refusal to
speak to her about his affair when she went into the bedroom with a butcher
knife and asked him how to kill herself. She said she and her husband struggled
over a sharper military knife that he pulled out, and she stabbed him in the
back of the neck.
The defendant said her husband stood up and pulled the covers off the
bed, then she blacked out and couldn't remember stabbing him 10 more times,
including two lethal stab wounds to the chest.
Khalil said the evidence didn't support the defendant's story and that,
in fact, she attacked her husband in bed after he had taken sleep medication.
Armstrong said his client attacked her husband while in a “total
uncontrollable rage” three months after finding out he was having an affair
with a younger woman he met on a hospital ship.
Trayers found herself on an “emotional roller coaster” because her
husband told her he would never leave her but at the same time was telling his
mistress that he loved her and wanted a divorce.
The defendant installed spyware on her husband's computer and
intercepted hundreds of emails between him and his girlfriend discussing how
they wanted to get married and have children, Armstrong said.
Trayers sent an eight-page email to her husband's mistress the morning
of the murder, telling the woman “My husband is NOT going to be yours” and
“I was the last person he was with.”
Armstrong said that email was a problem for Trayers' defense.
“This would have totally been a different case if it wasn't for that
email that was sent that morning,” Armstrong said. “I don't even think they
(prosecutors) would have gone on a first-degree murder theory at that point. I
could be wrong, but I don't think they would have.”