Born on April 24, 1976, Susan Lucille Wright was a blonde American woman from Houston, Texas. In 2003, she was featured in the newspapers for stabbing Jeff Wright, her husband, 193 times and then burying him in the backyard. She met her husband in 1997, while working as a waitress in Galveston, TX. They were married the next year while she was 8 and a half months pregnant with their first child, a son named Bradley. A couple of years later, they had a second child, a daughter named Kailey. During their first few years of marriage, Wright claimed that her husband had abused her and used illegal substances.
According to the evidence, on Monday, January 13, 2003, Susan Wright, 26, tied her husband Jeff Wright, 34, to their bed and stabbed him at least 193 times with two different knives. Following the incident, she dragged his body to the backyard of their home and buried him. In an attempt to clean up the crime, she tried painting the walls of the bedroom. She also went to the police station the following day to report a domestic abuse incident and obtained a restraining order against Jeff, in order to explain his disappearance.
Just five days later, on January 18, Wright called her attorney, Neal Davis, to come to her home, where she admitted to stabbing her husband and burying him in the backyard. Davis informed the Harris County district attorney’s office of the body and that she had confessed to the crime. On January 24, Wright turned herself in at the Harris County Courthouse and was arraigned for murder charges a few days following.
The trial began on February 24, 2004. During her arraignment, Susan Wright pleaded not guilty to killing her husband by reason of self-defense. The prosecutor, Kelly Siegler, had a completely different portrayal of Wright than her defense attorney. In Siegler’s eyes, Wright seduced her husband, tied him to the bed, stabbed him, and buried him in the backyard in order to obtain his life insurance money. Meanwhile, Davis portrayed Wright as a woman who had suffered years of abuse by her husband and only killed him to protect herself and her children. Wright testified in her own defense with a very emotional response, explaining how on the night of the murder her husband was on a cocaine binge and had allegedly beaten her. Others testified on Wright’s behalf, including her mother.
Siegler was not impressed by Wright’s testimony and believed that her tears were faked to elicit sympathy from the jury. In an attempt to convey her point to the jury, Seigler provided an unusual demonstration. She presented the courtroom with the actual bed from the murder scene and used her co-counsel to depict how she believed the events occurred that night. In her closing arguments, Siegler introduced that Susan Wright had been a topless dancer and explained how she believed Wright faked her testimony in order to gain the sympathy of the jury. The defense stuck with their original approach, that Wright was a battered woman who was only protecting herself and her children in self-defense.
After five and a half hours of deliberations, on March 3, 2004, Susan Wright was convicted of murder. She was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Her conviction was upheld in 2005 by the Fourteenth Court of Appeals of Texas. With a re-appeal in 2008, a new witness presented her story of abuse, by the ex-fiancee of Jeff Wright. In 2009, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted Wright a new sentencing and determined Wright’s “counsel rendered ineffective assistance during the punishment phase of the trial.” On November 20, 2010 her original sentence of 25 years was lowered to 20, and making her eligible for parole in 2014. On June 12, 2014 she was denied parole, and she was denied parole again on July 24, 2017. She was granted parole in July 2020 and released from prison on December 30, 2020.
As with many true crime stories, the details eventually inspired a film. Sony Pictures and Lifetime teamed up to produce The Blue Eyed Butcher, airing on Lifetime in March 2012. The film starred Sara Paxton as Susan Wright, Justin Bruening as her husband, Jeff Wright, and Lisa Edelstein as Kelly Siegler.