US: Decomposing body parts of the grandfather were found by police wrapped in air fresheners and scented beads to mask the odour
A 63-year-old "loving grandmother" has been found guilty of chopping up her husband, storing his head in her handbag and then moving it from house to house for six years.
Loretta Burroughs pretended her husband Daniel had run off to Florida with a younger woman from the home they shared in Mays Landing, New Jersey.
But the 2007 murder was finally uncovered when her husband’s brother reported him missing to police and she was investigated fraud over claims she made following his disappearance.
When cops arrived at her home she asked if they were also planning to search her new house in nearby Ventor.
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When they said they were Sergeant Lynn Dougherty of the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office testified Burroughs entire demeanour “changed completely".
"Her whole body sunk. She lost the colour in her face, she was wringing her hands, very nervous,” he said.
When investigators arrived at the home Detective Caroline MacDonald found two large boxes wrapped in multiple plastic garbage bags in the guest bedroom.
As she began to look inside she recognised the smell of a decomposing body and called the medical examiner.
The boxes were transported to the mortuary where Daniel’s remains were found inside.
Forensic pathologist, Dr Charles F Siebert Jr, said he found the body part wrapped in air fresheners, scented beads to mask the odour and dryer sheets.
He told the jury he then found a woman's handbag.
Dr Siebert Jr said: “I described it as olive but I didn't know the colour, because it had been sitting in decomposition fluid."
Inside the handbag were a “cranium and mandible” - a skull and jawbone.
The second, larger plastic container contained more bones, including the left upper arm and lower legs. The pathologist said he found cut marks on the ribs consistent with stab wounds.
He ruled Daniel, 63, had been murdered.
Toxicology reports also showed drugs in Daniel’s system, including amphetamines.
“You don’t overdose on crystal meth and then cut yourself up,” Assistant Prosecutor Seth Levy told the jury.
It took jurors two hours to convict Burroughs of first degree murder and hindering apprehension on Tuesday.
She had told her husband’s family her had left for a younger woman shortly before the couple were due to move to Florida in August 2007.
She now faces life in prison when sentenced by Superior Court Judge Michael Donio on April 22.
After the trial Mr Levy said: “She thought she got away with it.”