MAN FACES TRIAL FOR STABBING-MURDER OF CO-DEFENDANT’S CANCER-STRICKEN HUSBAND IN MURDER-FOR-PROFIT CONSPIRACY

For Immediate Release
 Case # 11CF3173







January 29, 2013

Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
Office: 714-347-8408
Cell: 714-292-2718

Farrah Emami
Spokesperson
Office: 714-347-8405
Cell: 714-323-4486

 

MAN FACES TRIAL FOR STABBING-MURDER OF CO-DEFENDANT’S CANCER-STRICKEN HUSBAND IN MURDER-FOR-PROFIT CONSPIRACY

*Victim’s wife and step-son have been convicted in this case

 

SANTA ANA – A man faces trial tomorrow for the stabbing-murder of his co-defendant’s cancer-stricken third husband in a conspiracy to financially profit from his insurance and 401(k) death benefits. Thomas Joseph Garrick, 37, Laguna Hills, is charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder for financial gain and one felony count conspiracy to commit murder. He faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole if convicted. Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.  

 

The victim’s wife, Sandra Jessee, 62, formerly of Placentia, was found guilty by a jury in a re-trial Dec. 7, 2011, of one felony count of special circumstances murder for financial gain and one felony count of conspiracy (Case #07ZF0009). She was sentenced March 23, 2012, to life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

 

Sandra Jessee’s son from a previous marriage Thomas Dayton Aehlert, 42, Gold Canyon, AZ, pleaded guilty Oct. 7, 2011, to one felony count of second degree murder and faces a sentence of 15 years to life in state prison at his sentencing April 26, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-35, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

 

In the spring of 1998, Sandra Jessee’s third husband of 15 years, 56-year-old Jack Jessee, was diagnosed with cancer.  Sandra Jessee wanted to move to Arizona, where Aehlert had recently moved. The victim did not want to leave California, where his adult children lived.

 

Between June 1, 1998, and July 1, 1999, Sandra Jessee conspired with Aehlert to hire a hit man to murder Jack Jessee for financial gain. Sandra Jessee wanted to have the victim murdered because she resented having to care for him and did not want to deplete their retirement savings, believing that insurance would not cover all of his cancer treatments.

 

On several occasions in June 1998, Aehlert called friend Brett Schrauben, now-40, to solicit and arrange the murder of Jack Jessee in exchange for $50,000. On June 24, 1998, Sandra Jessee met Schrauben in a store parking lot in Placentia. She paid him $5,000 to kill her husband while she was away from her home and instructed him to make the murder look like a residential burglary. 

 

On Aug. 13, 1998, Aehlert called Schrauben to discuss the