GREED+CONSPIRACY+POISON = MURDER
TEXAS MILLIONAIRE POISONED TO DEATH
INCREDIBLE TRUE STORY MADE NATIONAL TV
Episodes on INVESTIGATION DISCOVERY (2014), SNAPPED (2005), CURRENT AFFAIR (1995)
MOTIVE: Old Fashioned Greed (Million dollar estate and $350,000 Life Insurance Policy)
DYING DECLARATION: "Those two women stole thousands from me. They're trying to kill me! You've gotta help me!"
Jerry Sternadel was a Texas millionaire, and in the prime of his life. He was a healthy, energetic man with everything to live for when he discovered his wife and bookkeeper had stolen thousands of dollars from him. A few weeks after he demanded the money back, he ate lunch with his wife and bookkeeper, as he often did, and suddenly became deathly ill. While in the hospital, doctors were mystified as to how an otherwise healthy, energetic man could become so deathly ill. The dying millionaire told everyone within earshot that his wife and bookkeeper were killing him. His wife, Lou Ann, said her husband was hallucinating from drugs the doctors were giving him. Lou Ann pretended to be a caring wife, as she and her close friend, Debra Baker, allegedly continued feeding her husband food and drink laced with arsenic poison.
The millionaire knew he was dying, and knew who was killing him. He begged for his life when he was in the hospital, "Please help me! Cut me loose! I don't want to die! Those two women are killing me!" He valiantly fought for his life while strapped down to his hospital bed with restraints on his hands and feet and tubes in every orifice.
Jerry Sternadel died a painful death while strapped down to his hospital bed.
An anonymous caller tipped off the police about a $350,000 life insurance policy the widow stood to gain from the millionaire's death.
Death Certificate read: Patient was given arsenic over a period of time until lethal amounts finally killed him.
The murder of the Texas millionaire began a horrific battle with the devil for the millionaire's ex-wife, Jeannie Walker, as she pursued justice for her ex-husband and their two children.
FIRST DEGREE MURDER = DEATH PENALTY
99 YEARS TO LIFE
At the murder trial, the prosecutor painted a picture - It wasn't a love triangle ... it was A HATE TRIANGLE.
The Texas millionaire grew to hate his wife, and was on the verge of divorcing Lou Ann Sternadel.
The millionaire's bookkeeper, Debra Lynn Baker, hated her boss, and Lou Ann Sternadel hated the thought of losing her lavish lifestyle.
THE PROSECUTOR'S THEORY: The bookkeeper killed the millionairel so he would not divorce his wife.It was a shaky motive to be sure, but it was hard for the jury to get around the fact that arsenic was found in a storage shed rented by the bookkeepr, Debra Lynn Baker.
Clay County jurors weighed the evidence and found Debra Lynn Baker GUILTY of FIRST DEGREE MURDER.
But, members of the jury felt it was a conspiracy, and the widow made was making Debra Baker the scapegoat in the arsenic murder.
When the Everyone in the courtroom and surrounding counties were surprised and dismayed when the jury sentenced the convicted killer to Ten Years Probation with a $10,000 fine.
District Attorney Tim Cole and others said the sentence Debra Lynn Baker received was a "Travesty of Justice".
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BLACK WIDOW?
Despite the millionaire's dying declaration against his wife and the obvious motive, the widow (Lou Ann Sternadel) has yet to be arrested or brought to trial for her alleged part in the murder conspiracy of the Texas millionaire.
Jeannie Walker wrote a true crime "Fighting the Devil" about the despicable murder of her millionaire ex-husband. The non-fiction book is loaded with photographs of the people involved, and has won several awards.
The award-winning novel is dedicated to the sheriff who diligently pursued the case until his untimely death from lung cancer, the late Jake Bogard.