Oregon woman, 20, gets life for fatal stabbing of her husband

Jennelle McGuire, 20, of Oregon, right, with attorney Gretchen DeBacker, is sentenced in Lucas County Common Pleas Court for the fatal stabbing of her husband.
Jennelle McGuire, 20, of Oregon, right, with attorney Gretchen DeBacker, is sentenced in Lucas County Common Pleas Court for the fatal stabbing of her husband.

For stabbing her husband 22 times, then dumping his body in a ditch, Jennelle McGuire uttered just two words in court Friday: “I’m sorry.”

McGuire, 20, appeared in Lucas County Common Pleas Court and entered an Alford plea to murder in the Aug. 17, 2011, death of Devin McGuire, 35. The McGuires were from Oregon.

In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit to committing a crime, but acknowledges evidence is sufficient for a conviction.

Judge Gene Zmuda found McGuire guilty and sentenced her to life in prison. She will be eligible for parole in 15 years, though the judge cautioned her before he accepted her plea that her release would be up to the parole board.

In January, Judge Zmuda sentenced McGuire’s boyfriend, Shawn Brazeal, 22, to 15 years in prison for his role in the killing. Brazeal, who was living with the McGuires in the 1800 block of Plympton Circle, had pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter, obstructing justice, and tampering with evidence.

“It’s a tragic, tragic case; tragic in many ways,” the judge said. “Lives that are destroyed because they’ve been intentionally and purposefully killed, Mr. McGuire. Lives that are destroyed as a result of actions taken by you and your paramour, Mr. Brazeal. Lives that thatare destroyed because of the loss of a loved one.”

McGuire was to go to trial Monday on charges of murder and aggravated murder. As part of a plea agreement, the more serious charge of aggravated murder, which could have sent her to prison for life without a chance for parole, was dismissed.

Devin McGuire’s partially decomposed body was found in an Oregon ditch by two passing bicyclists Aug. 30, 2011. An autopsy found he’d been stabbed 22 times in the chest and abdomen.

Frank Spryszak, an assistant county prosecutor, told the court Brazeal, who had been living with the McGuires in their Oregon home, had a romantic affair with Jennelle McGuire and the two talked about killing Mr. McGuire.

On Aug. 17, 2011, he said, the McGuires got into an argument. Brazeal hooked his arms under Mr. McGuire’s armpits and held his hands behind his head while McGuire stabbed her husband with a steak knife.

Mr. Spryszak said the two put his body in the bathtub and tried to dig a hole in the backyard to bury him. When that didn’t work, they loaded him into a city-issued recycling bin and pushed it to a drainage ditch where they dumped the body, weighted down by a rock attached to his right leg.

He said McGuire threw the knife into the lake off Bayshore Road, where a diver with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office later recovered it.

A search of McGuire’s laptop computer found Internet searches for phrases that included, “how to kill your husband, getting away with murder, and ways to kill your husband,” Mr. Spryszak said.

McGuire’s attorney, Gretchen DeBacker, said a psychological evaluation of her client painted a serious and “quite sad” background that included sexual abuse by her father and a marriage to Mr. McGuire at 16 that had turned abusive.

The victim’s older brother, Craig Moore, said Mr. McGuire’s death has affected his whole family.

“All we can do is hope she gets the right sentence for what she done,” he said.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.