True Crime News Roundup: Woman Who Manipulated Boyfriend Into Killing Her Husband Sentenced

Plus: Principal accused of having yearslong sexual relationship with student; NYC teen mother allegedly threw newborn from fifth-floor window; dispute over dog turns deadly in Connecticut; and a judge denies a request for DNA testing in West Memphis Three case.

June 24, 2022
Jennifer [left] and James Faith [right] pictured here smiling.

Texas woman Jennifer Faith has been sentenced to life behind bars after she manipulated her boyfriend to murder her husband by claiming she was the victim of abuse.

Photo by: Jennifer Svelan via GoFundMe

Jennifer Svelan via GoFundMe

By: Aaron Rasmussen

A woman who faked emails so her boyfriend thought she was being abused is sentenced to prison.

A Texas woman has been ordered to spend the rest of her life behind bars after she admitted to manipulating her secret boyfriend to murder her husband by claiming she was the victim of physical and sexual abuse, federal prosecutors said.

At around 7:30 a.m. on Oct. 9, 2020, Jamie Faith was walking his dog near the Dallas home he shared with his wife, Jennifer Faith, when Darrin Lopez shot and killed him, People reported.

Jennifer “put on quite a performance in the wake of her husband's murder,” U.S. Attorney Chad Meacham said in a June 21 statement, noting, “She poured out her sob story to reporters and law enforcement, then headed home to orchestrate her coverup.”

Investigators learned Jennifer, 49, and Lopez were once high school sweethearts and had rekindled their relationship after reconnecting on social media around seven months earlier.

In her plea deal, Jennifer admitted she began corresponding with 49-year-old Lopez using two fake email accounts she had created — one purportedly belonging to her husband, Jamie, and another to friends.

U.S. Attorney Meacham said Jennifer then used the fake email accounts to convince Lopez her husband was physically and sexually abusing her, claims she later conceded were false.

According to prosecutors, she “downloaded stock images depicting injuries from the internet and attached them to some of the emails to convince Lopez” she needed help in the months leading up to him shooting her husband seven times, killing the American Airlines technology director.

After Jamie died, Jennifer attempted to cash out a life insurance policy worth over $600,000 her husband had through his job, and she used the nearly $60,000 donated to a GoFundMe set up in her name to shower Lopez with money and gifts, including a large-screen television.

Jennifer was eventually charged with obstruction of justice and the death-penalty-eligible use of interstate commerce in the commission of murder-for-hire, according to People.

“Ms. Faith’s alleged murder-for-hire scheme was depraved and calculated. She preyed on her boyfriend’s protective instinct and his pocketbook in order to convince him to execute her husband,” Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah said in September 2021.

Last February, Jennifer accepted a plea deal to avoid the death penalty in exchange for a sentence of life behind bars.

U.S. Attorney Meacham said prosecutors “were committed to getting justice for Jamie” and noted that Jennifer’s “crocodile tears didn’t stop the feds.”

Police arrested Lopez on murder and weapons charges in January 2021. He has pleaded not guilty.

A principal faces charges in connection to an alleged yearslong sexual relationship with a former student, according to court documents.

An educator in Pennsylvania is accused of starting a sexual relationship with a pupil that continued for years, authorities said.

Williamsport Area High School principal Roger Weaver Freed, 34, faces multiple charges, including 30 counts of sexual intercourse and contact with a student, CNN reported, citing court documents filed on June 20.

He was being held on $175,000 bond.

According to the documents, the student said that when a family member died in 2015, he reached out to Freed for support because he was popular with classmates in his middle school’s service center.

The documents state that the student “trusted Freed ‘like an older brother,’” according to the court affidavit.

Freed allegedly often drove the student around and they had “one-on-one conversations,” which included talks about the student’s sexuality, according to the affidavit.

In 2017, the student and Freed discussed making their relationship sexual, the affidavit states, and Freed allegedly told the boy: “You promise not to tell anybody” and “I could lose my job over this.”

Over the next two years, the documents allege, the student had sexual contact with Freed “4-5 times a week” and “always at night.”

After graduating from high school and moving on to college, the student claimed that he and Freed continued the sexual relationship, which ended in April, according to the affidavit.

A New York City teenager is accused of tossing her newborn baby out an apartment window.

Prosecutors claim a 17-year-old girl admitted she “panicked” and threw her newborn baby boy from a fifth-floor window in her Bronx apartment building after he stopped making noise.

At a June 23 arraignment hearing, the teenager was charged with murder and manslaughter and she was ordered held on $200,000 bond, the New York Daily News reported.

According to police, on Oct. 24, 2021, the teenager, who has not been named due to her status as a minor, said she gave birth in her bedroom.

“The baby was breathing, making noises, and not crying too loud,” the girl allegedly claimed when interviewed by detectives.

The new mom said she then left the baby unattended while she made herself something to eat.

“After a couple of hours, I noticed he wasn’t making any noises,” she said, according to police. “I panicked and took a blue pillow case and put the baby inside of it. I threw it out my fifth-floor window.”

Police located the deceased child in a flowerbed outside the apartment building after the teenager told staff at Lincoln Hospital what happened and they called 911.

An autopsy determined the child died by homicide caused by multiple blunt force trauma injuries as well as a lacerated liver and internal bleeding.

The teenager faces murder and manslaughter charges and was being held on $200,000 bond.

Connecticut man faces gun charge following a deadly dispute over a dog, police say.

Police in Connecticut have arrested a man in connection to the shooting death of a couple over what is believed to have been a fight about a dog.

On June 21, Donovan McFarlane, 31, was charged with criminal possession of a firearm after he arrived at the Hartford Police Department and asked to speak with detectives, People reported.

According to the outlet, McFarlane had recently learned he was a person of interest in the deaths of Chase Garrett, 39, and Christina Dang, 27, two days earlier.

Police said a third victim in her 20s was in critical condition after she was treated for injuries sustained in the incident, which also left McFarlane with a non-life-threatening wound, according to WFSB.

Police have not released further details about the shooting, including if McFarlane could be charged with additional crimes.

He reportedly is cooperating with authorities in the ongoing investigation.

A judge denies “West Memphis Three” member’s request for DNA testing that could possibly prove his innocence.

On June 23, a judge rejected 47-year-old Damien Echols’ request for new DNA testing on evidence he said could prove he’s innocent of committing the 1993 murders of three Cub Scouts in West Memphis, Arkansas, CNN reported.

Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley Jr. were found guilty in 1994 of participating in what prosecutors contended was a triple homicide that was part of a satanic ritual that took the lives of 8-year-olds Steve Branch, Chris Byers, and Michael Moore.

Echols and his co-defendants, who became known as the “West Memphis Three,” were freed from prison in 2011 after they were given 18-year sentences and credit for time served in exchange for signing Alford pleas, which allowed the three to maintain their innocence while acknowledging there was evidence in the case that could lead to a conviction.

In denying Echols request, the judge cited a state statute that requires petitioners requesting new DNA testing be currently incarcerated, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported.

“We are extremely disappointed in the Judge’s decision which was based upon a narrow interpretation of the law and one that failed to allow justice to be served,” one of Echol’s lawyers, Lonnie Soury, told CNN. “All we asked is for the right to seek to identify the DNA of the real killer(s).”

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