In most relationships, there are rough patches. When you’re together with someone — even someone you love dearly — for years and years, there are bound to be times when one or both of you don’t quite see eye to eye.
Ideally, a couple will work through whatever the issue is and their relationship will be made stronger for it. But as you already know, life is rarely ideal. Rocky times can break up the happiest of homes. But when one couple were having problems with their relationship, it would result in a much worse ending than most…
In the affluent neighborhood of Brentwood, Tennessee, 40-year-old Martha and 44-year-old Jeffrey were living what seemed to be a great life. The married couple had started a business that did background checks for employers and apartment complexes and, through their hard work, business was booming.
But if their walls could talk, they would tell the story of a marriage in jeopardy. They didn’t have any financial troubles and Jeffrey was described by some as a “teddy bear” type of guy, Martha wasn’t happy with him or her life in general, but she didn’t know exactly why…
Martha said that her life was as if she was living on Wisteria lane, the fictional street on ABC’s hit show Desperate Housewives. The show centers around affluent suburban women who, behind the facade of perfect lives, are dealing with the turmoil of interpersonal drama, adultery, and sometimes murder.
In searching for a reason for her dissatisfaction in life, Martha sought out professional help. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and began to take antidepressants as treatment. The pills seemed to help somewhat but there was still a void in Martha’s life that she was trying to fill…
4th of July
One night in 2004, it seemed like Martha had found that thing she was missing. Jeffrey and his wife had gone to Nashville to enjoy a 4th of July celebration. But during the course of the celebration, Jeffrey decided for some reason that he wanted to go home, even though he had booked a hotel room in town for the night.
But Martha didn’t want to leave. She decided that she was going to stay at the event no matter what so when Jeffrey left to go home, he did it alone. At some point in the night, she met up with a trio of Latino men and hit it off with them. She invited all 3 of them to come back to the hotel room with her…
In a completely uncharacteristic act, Martha Freeman had a night of debauchery with all 3 of the men in the hotel room. This sort of excitement, apparently, is really what Martha had been missing in her life. She took a particular liking to one of the 3 men, a 35-year-old named Rafael Rocha-Perez and began an ongoing affair with him.
Martha even went a step beyond just cheating on her husband. Despite the fact that Rafael didn’t speak English and she didn’t speak Spanish, she decided she’d rather be with him than the man she married. She moved out of their home, into a local hotel, and had Rafael move in with her…
For more than 6 months, they lived together in the hotel, communicating only with a translation device, seemingly happy with their arrangement. But because she was no longer working at the business she and her husband had started, she ran out of money.
Take Me Back
It was at that point that Martha went back to her husband and asked him to take her back. Jeffrey was a more forgiving man than most and certainly loved Martha dearly, because he took her back. Although she was back in their home, the two were a long way from repairing the rift Martha had made when she left…
In fact, they weren’t even sleeping in the same bed at that point. While Jeffrey slept in the master bedroom, Martha was sleeping in a guest bedroom. She was more than happy with the arrangement because it allowed her to violate Jeffrey’s trust once again by setting up a space for Rafael to live in the closet of the second bedroom.
Martha had outfitted the 2-by-8-foot closet with a foam pad, pillows, blankets, and a radio. She’d also given Rafael a Nintendo GameBoy, a radio, several adult magazines, and a bunch of pictures or Martha in various stages of undress to pass the time…
Rafael was living in Martha’s closet for a whole month without Jeffrey’s knowledge. Then one day, Jeffrey heard snoring coming from the closet. When he went to investigate, he discovered his wife’s lover. According to Martha, Jeffrey exploded at the man.
Yelling at Rafael and at Martha, Jeffrey told them he was going to go out for a walk. He wanted Rafael to be gone by the time he got back. But instead of leaving, Martha said, Rafael picked up a shotgun belonging to Jeffrey and pointed it at him when he returned…
Then, Martha said, Rafael ordered Jeffrey into the bathroom. “I heard water running, I heard a lot of thumping, a lot of noise,” Martha said. Rafael had badly beaten Jeffrey and strangled him to death. He apparently bore no ill will toward Martha and didn’t harm her at all but, for some reason, Martha didn’t immediately call the police.
Instead, she went to fill a prescription at a Walgreens and walked her dog — twice. It wasn’t until 16 hours later that she called 911. All of that is what Martha Freeman testified to in a preliminary hearing for Rafael’s murder trial until the judge abruptly cut her off…
I’m Going To Stop You There
“I’ve got a problem with allowing this to go any further without allowing her some representation,” said Judge Casey Moreland. He found Martha’s account of what happened so bizarre and unbelievable that it couldn’t be true. “I can see her being charged in this case,” he added.
In On It
The judge was correct. Based on the evidence gathered by investigators, as well as her bizarre behavior after her husband had been killed, Martha Freeman was also charged with first-degree murder in connection with her husband’s death…
Though Martha and Rafael had attempted to clean the crime scene of any blood or fingerprints to link them to the crime scene, forensic investigators were still able to find DNA evidence that suggested Martha’s involvement. Prosecutors also had on their side the fact that someone wouldn’t report the murder of her husband for 16 whole hours if she had no involvement.
Throw Away The Key
The jury only needed 2 hours to deliberate, coming to the conclusion that Martha Freeman and Rafael Rocha-Perez had conspired to kill Jeffrey Freeman together, then cover up their crime. They were both found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison, with the possibility of parole after 51 years.