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Murderer Confesses in Court, Leads Authorities to the Body, as Part of a Plea Bargain
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A Missouri man charged with murdering the mother of his three children confessed his guilt in court yesterday as part of a plea deal that will also require him to take authorities to the place where he buried her.

James Clay Waller II was convicted of second degree murder in the 2011 death of his estranged wife, Jacque Waller, and sentenced to 20 years in prison. The light murder sentence was arranged as part of a plea bargain with prosecutors, who wanted Waller to take them to the place where he buried Jacque’s body after he murdered her in his home.


Prosecutors were tipped off to Waller’s guilt after he confessed premeditating the murder to his father. Waller told his father that he dug a hole on an island in the Mississippi River prior to inviting Jacque to his home, where he murdered her and then moved her body. The elder Waller died before he could provide testimony about his son’s crimes, and prosecutors have since been unable to locate Jacque’s body to prove these claims beyond a shadow of a doubt.

As part of the plea deal with prosecutors, Waller confessed to the murder in open court, and Jacque’s family packed the courtroom. Speaking in a soft, barely audible voice, Waller described how he choked his wife to death and then took her body to the island and buried her. “We got in an argument…. I lost my temper.”

Prior to his sentencing, a taped statement from Waller’s 7 year-old son was played in court. “You killed our mom,” said the child, who then disowned his father and described him as a “big, fat, jerk.”

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“I never want to see you again for my entire life,” said the child.

The majority of those involved with the trial both personally and professionally were unsatisfied with the sentence Waller received.

“I did not want this deal,” said Jacque’s sister Cheryl Brenneke, who took custody of Clay and Jacque’s triplets after Jacque’s death. She said that, while she hoped Clay would have received a harsher sentence, she understood the desire of her parents and her nieces and nephews to bury Jacque.

Judge Benjamin Lewis, who presided over the case, admitted that the deal was too lenient, saying “there will be a number people critical of this plea agreement. However, none of those critics could provide the body of Jacque Waller.”

When handing down the sentence, he said, “This is not what you deserve, but it will have to do.”

Waller is currently serving a 5-year federal sentence for threatening Brenneke over the internet.

Image Credit: AP


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