According to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Rothwell admitted on the stand that he killed Jennifer on Nov. 11, 2019, while in a "'red haze' of anger." He reportedly said the killing was not premeditated, and his attorneys argued for a conviction of voluntary manslaughter rather than first-degree murder.
Rothwell reportedly said during the trial he used a mallet to kill Jennifer by hitting her on the right side of her head first and then again when she tried fleeing. The medical examiner, however, testified "that the fatal wound to the right side of the victim’s head was the result of a single blow with a weapon much sturdier than a mallet, such as a baseball bat."
Jennifer reportedly rolled down the stairs into the basement after the first strike. Her blood was found on the carpeting in the basement. He then abandoned her body in a wooded area of Lincoln County.
According to the statement, Rothwell "listed pros and cons" in a notebook that deliberated whether he should leave his wife for another woman. He reportedly wrote that he worried "the cost was too high."
Prosecutors said Rothwell messaged the woman he was having an affair with and "listed three options: break it off with her, divorce his pregnant wife, or wait and hope for ‘a miscarriage or something.'"
According to KTVI-TV, Rothwell and Jennifer got into an argument the night she died. He reportedly admitted to having an affair, and Jennifer allegedly said she was also having one and the baby might not be his. She reportedly shoved him during this conversation, which is when he picked up the mallet and hit her.