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Woman accused of boyfriend's murder, dismembering his body parts

Texas authorities have arrested a 30-year-old woman for the shooting death of her boyfriend in their home in the Houston suburb of Baytown. Police say that the murder suspect shot the man in the head while he slept, then dismembered his body because it was too heavy to carry. Even though the woman had an argument with the man earlier that evening, the allegations of dismemberment with a machete and methodically disposing of the body tend to suggest malice aforethought.

The authorities allege that she wrapped different body parts in sheets and duct tape and disposed of them in different dumpsters. She then reported the man as missing to the police two days after the killing, authorities allege. When police examined the couple's apartment they reportedly found traces of blood throughout the apartment, which was apparently their tipoff to conclude guilt against the woman. 

Police indicate that they have since found a man's torso that fits the victim's description at a landfill and they are waiting for DNA results. Since her appearance at police headquarters, the suspect did not return to talk with police as promised, and in the meantime Hurricane Harvey hit the area. Although she disappeared with her minor daughter, an anonymous tip led police to a New Orleans suburb, where they arrested her.

She has been arrested for murder, but it is unclear if she is being held in the other state and whether she must be extradited back to Texas. Because of the allegations of deliberate steps that indicate preplanning and premeditation, defense counsel will have to develop strong mitigating circumstances to avoid a first-degree murder conviction and a possible death sentence. Police also indicate that the suspect may have confessed to the murder. Whether that was done voluntarily will be a central concern of counsel.  

Source: CBS News, "Cops: Texas woman killed boyfriend as he slept, dismembered body", Sept. 18, 2017

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