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Jury selection begins in trial of St. Louis County man accused of killing pregnant wife

Beau Rothwell was charged with first-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence and abandonment of a corpse.
Credit: St. Louis County PD
Jennifer Rothwell, pictured, was found dead a week after her husband, Beau Rothwell, reported her missing in November 2019.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Jury selection is underway Monday for the trial of a man accused of killing his pregnant wife and hiding the evidence in 2019.

Beau Rothwell is charged with first-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence and abandonment of a corpse in the death of Jennifer Rothwell. Jury selection was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. in St. Louis County court.

On Monday, Rothwell also waived his right to be sentenced by a jury. If convicted, the judge will determine his sentence.

At 9:44 p.m. on Nov. 12, Beau Rothwell called 911 to report his wife of four years missing since that morning, according to search warrants. Her car was found parked near her home, with her cellphone inside. 

Beau Rothwell wouldn't let police search the home, car or cellphone, or take a DNA sample from him, according to investigators. He also requested an attorney.

Detectives then searched a trash can placed at the curb of the home on Nov. 13. In it they found various cleaning supplies, including rubber gloves and paper towels, the warrants state. A receipt showed cleaning items had been purchased Nov. 11 from a Dierbergs and surveillance video showed him buying the products.

“This purchase was oddly at a time during a major snow event involving dangerous driving conditions, and was also contradictory to Beau Rothwell’s statement that he was home with his wife all night,” an investigator wrote in the documents.

Police also found signs that violent acts had been committed inside the home. Detectives described an “overwhelming” smell of bleach and other cleaners inside the home as well as several “large areas of red stain” at the base of the basement steps. DNA tests confirmed that the blood found in the home was Jennifer Rothwell’s. 

About a week after she went missing, Beau Rothwell gave investigators information that led them to her body, about 45 miles northwest of their home. Detectives disclosed in warrants that the 28-year-old had been six weeks pregnant when she died.

Credit: St Louis Post-Dispatch
Beau Rothwell enters the courtroom on Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, at the Buzz Westfall Justice Center in Clayton. Rothwell, 28, was charged Nov. 14, 2019, with second-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence in the death of pregnant wife Jennifer Rothwell. Photo by Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

Prior to her death, Jennifer searched "what to do if your husband is upset you are pregnant" on her cellphone, according to search warrants.

Beau and Jennifer Rothwell received chemical engineering degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2013. They married in 2015 in St. Louis County.

RELATED: Timeline: Jennifer Rothwell case

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