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Admitted affair drove man to kill wife, burn body, police say

Updated December 8, 2023 - 3:44 pm

A 43-year-old man, who told authorities he was incensed by his wife’s apparent affair with another person, confessed that he strangled her and burned her body in Henderson, according to court records and a Henderson Police Department arrest report.

Police arrested Freddie Wright III on Nov. 27 after the body of Janell Bowen was recovered from a 55-gallon metal bin on Nov. 21, the report said.

According to the report, an autopsy showed “significant evidence of asphyxiation by strangulation,” along with “contusions to the upper back, three fractured ribs, and apparent evidence of vaginal trauma.”

On Nov. 24, witnesses told police that Wright and his six children had stayed at their residence for about two weeks in November. They said Bowen also came to stay at the residence.

One witness said she saw Wright strangling Bowen one night, with his hands “wrapped around her neck.” The witness told police she heard Wright say, “Die B——” while sitting on top of her, according to the report.

After his arrest, Wright admitted that he had killed Bowen, whom he identified as his wife. According to the report, Wright told police that, upon Bowen admitting she was having a “relationship” with another person, Wright “snapped” and “proceeded to strangle her by placing his hands around her neck.”

According to the report, Wright wrapped Bowen’s body in blankets, loaded it into his vehicle and “drove around, as he didn’t know what to do.” Wright told police that he put the body inside a “trashcan” and drove it to an “abandoned hotel,” where he left it overnight.

Wright told police that the next day, he returned to the hotel, loaded the trashcan — still containing Brown’s body — into his vehicle, and “proceeded to drive around again.” He later parked and put the trashcan on a road near the Whitney Mesa Recreational Trailhead in Henderson. Wright said he returned later that day, poured gasoline onto Brown’s body, “and lit her on fire,” according to the arrest report.

After Wright’s confession, police found a red gas can in the area where Wright said he had thrown it after setting Brown’s body on fire, the arrest report said.

Wright was booked on charges including open murder and is being held without bail.

On Wednesday, Henderson Justice of the Peace Sam Bateman ordered Wright back in court Jan. 29 for a preliminary hearing.

Contact Peter S. Levitt at plevitt@reviewjournal.com.

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