A Baltimore-area man convicted in April of murdering his wife in 1991 and then burying her in concrete under a shed in their backyard, was sentenced to 30 years in prison today. The sentencing judge called Robert Jarrett Jr. a "monster hiding behind softness of human skin."

Though the years had washed away a lot of evidence—Christine Jarrett wasn't even given an official cause of death—prosecutors argued that Robert and Christine's marriage prior to her disappearance had been plagued by Robert's abuse and a deep unhappiness. The couple had once separated, and in December 1990 they had decided to finally divorce. Two weeks later, Christine went missing.

Robert's defense attorney, George Psoras, had attempted to make the case that there were a multitude of ways outside of her husband's violence that Christine Jarrett could have ended up dead and buried in concrete in her own backyard. This from the Baltimore Sun (emphasis ours):


Psoras said any number of scenarios were just as plausible as the prosecution's theory that Robert Jarrett, killed his wife. He said she could have taken her own life, died of natural causes or been killed by a lover.

Psoras even suggested that she could have died from autoerotic asphyxiation. His closing arguments did not refer to evidence behind that assertion.

Exacerbating the immediate horror in this case was the fact that after Robert killed Christine, he went on about his life for decades as if he were just as shocked and saddened as everyone else. He participated in the search party for her, he lied to all of their family and friends, he even let their children play in the backyard just feet from their mother's corpse. Robert, who was always a person of interest in the case for police, was finally captured after he left his second wife for another woman and she gave authorities permission to search their property.

Prosecutors were unable to prove that the murder was premeditated, thus the lenient maximum sentence of 30 years.