I'm a Tennessee-based freelance writer with a passion for true crime, a thirst for knowledge, and an obsession with lists.
Jeff and Susan Wright
It was a twisted road, filled with pole dances and drugs for a young couple that was headed down a path that ended with the murder of one of them.
Susan Lucille Wyche was a beautiful, blonde 21-year-old the day she met Jeff Wright. They were both in love after their first date, each without knowing the other's darkest secrets.
Shortly after graduating high school, Susan had spent eight weeks working as an exotic dancer. When she’d grown tired of topless dancing, Susan used the money she earned to enroll in a nursing program at a community college and found a job at a hair salon. School, according to Susan, became too time-consuming and expensive, so she quit.
Jeff, alternatively, had spent his teen years and adulthood partying with friends, binging on alcohol and cocaine, but as his 30th birthday quickly approached, Jeff had been thinking more about settling down with a wife and kids. And after he met her, he believed Susan was “the one.”
Everything was falling into place for Susan and Jeff. Although they each knew they wanted to be with the other forever, no one had really spoken the words just yet. But when Susan announced a few months into their relationship that she was pregnant, Jeff knew it was time to take the plunge.
Two weeks later, Jeff and Susan were married in a small ceremony just outside of Houston, Texas.
It was Fall 1998.
Old Habits Die Hard
After Jeff and Susan’s son Bradley Wright was born, the couple bought a home on Berry Tree Drive in the White Oaks subdivision in the Cypress-Fairbanks section of Houston. Susan, even through the pregnancy and birth of a daughter, kept the outside neat and tidy by growing and tending to the flowers and shrubs.
Jeff had recently dug out a section of patio off the screened in porch where, when he found time, he intended to install a fountain.
On the surface, things seemed perfect but chaos was brewing underneath.
Four years into the marriage, Jeff wasn’t partying as much as he used to, but he still enjoyed tying one on every now and again. Susan hated it when he was high because Jeff was too aggressive with her and with the children. She would later tell stories of being kicked, punched, and slapped during Jeff’s coke-fueled rages.
It irritated Jeff to no end that Susan constantly nagged about his drug use. He was a grown man and entitled to do as he pleased. After all, Susan knew he enjoyed partaking of the drugs when she married him—why should he stop now?
Susan was growing weary of it. She loved Jeff and didn’t really believe in divorce, but she was so very tired. This nightmare had to end.
And it was going to, one way or another. But another one was about to begin.
Wright and Wrong
On the evening of January 13, 2003, Jeff was riding another cocaine high. As he played with Bradley, doing their play-fighting, Jeff had hit his son a little too hard in the face. Bradley began crying and Jeff was sure another lecture from Susan was about to be unleashed. He was glad when she seemed not to have noticed and kicked back to enjoy the last few hours of his high.
After the kids had been tucked into bed and were sound asleep, Jeff was a little surprised to look up and see Susan standing in the doorway of their bedroom wearing only a silk bathrobe. She didn’t have to speak a single word for Jeff to turn off the television and get off the couch.
When Jeff entered the bedroom, he found the room aglow with red candles and soft music playing in the background. As the couple began to kiss, caress and undress, Susan suggested that Jeff lay down on the bed. With cocaine buzzing through him, Jeff became even more excited when Susan began to slowly and seductively tying each of his limbs to the bed’s headboard and footboard.
Once Jeff was naked and spread-eagled, Susan put her plan to end the abuse into action.
First, she took one of the candles and, after kissing her husband’s chest, poured the wax on his inner thigh. Jeff yelped and struggled to get free but couldn’t because of the bindings.
Next, Jeff suddenly felt a horrible pain in his groin. Struggling to break free and see in the dim lights, he watched as his wife brought forward a knife while holding his “member” in her hand. It dawned on Jeff that Susan had cut him in the worst place with a knife that had been in the room all evening. He knew, then and there, things were only going to get worse.
He was right.
Susan began telling her husband that, although she had been meek in the past, she was tired of his abuse and now she was in charge. With anger dripping from her voice, Susan again sliced at Jeff’s penis. Jeff screamed in pain. Susan gave it another nick of the knife.
Jeff broke out into a cold sweat and frantically tried to figure out how he was going to get out of this and get to a hospital when, without warning, Susan suddenly spun around to face him and raised the knife over her head. As Susan shook with rage and Jeff struggled to break free, she began stabbing her husband over and over again.
Crying and stabbing, Susan shouted out every injustice her husband had ever committed against her and the children. Emboldened by violence, which to Susan was righting the wrongs, she stabbed her husband again and again and again.
Jeff had been dead for quite some time before Susan, her rage finally spent after 193 blows, dropped the bloody knife onto the bed and silently slid off the bed to the floor.
Covering Up Murder Becomes a Chore
Susan sat on the floor for a while, coming to terms with what she had done. But it was time to start taking care of business because Susan didn’t want to go to prison for murder.
Steeling herself for the task at hand, Susan flipped on the bedroom light. She’d expected it to be messy but she was astonished at the amount of blood everywhere. It was on the walls, the floor, the furniture – everywhere! Susan nearly became overwhelmed with panic, but she pulled herself together and went to shower.
Then Susan went to work.
First things first, she called her in-laws 150 miles away in Austin. She cried as she told them that earlier in the evening, Jeff had returned home from boxing lessons in a rage. She said he’d taken out his anger on her and Bradley. Ron and Kay Wright were shocked at what they were hearing and asked to speak to their son. Susan told them they couldn’t because Jeff had stormed out of the house and left.
Susan said she was certain Jeff had left her for good. When her mother and father-in-law asked what had set him off, Susan replied, rather frankly, “Drugs” and proceeded to tell them about the cocaine and marijuana and the debt he’d run up trying to keep up with his habit. It was the first the couple had heard about their son using drugs since he’d married four years ago.
For a little more than an hour, Susan ranted and cried to Jeff’s parents about the problems between she and her husband but, when it was all over, Susan still had more to do; Jeff’s body still lay dead and bloody in the master bedroom.
What to do, what to do.
After a little while, Susan decided she would use the hole Jeff had dug for the fountain to bury his body. Finally getting momentum by grabbing his ankles, Susan dragged him through the house to the patio, then pushed him into the grave Jeff had unknowingly dug for himself.
Rigor mortis was setting in, however, and making fitting him into the hole a more difficult task than Susan had imagined. After cramming him in, she began scooping the dirt over the top of him; just as the sun was starting to come up. Susan realized it wasn’t a very good place to bury the body, but it would have to do for now.
Back in the house, Susan began cleaning up the blood beginning with the path of blood from the bedroom to the patio. She put the bloody sheets into a garbage bag and tossed the bloody mattress into the backyard while trying to figure out what to do with it later.
Then she loaded the kids into the car and ran a couple of errands, including stopping by the hardware store to pick up a couple of gallons of paint. Every spare moment between caring for the kids and the dog, Susan worked at cleaning up the crime scene.
When she was done, Susan looked around the room. Except for the huge bleach spot on the carpet, which she was sure she could explain away if ever asked, she thought everything looked normal.
But thinking and knowing are two very different things.
Dang That Dog!
After Susan’s call, Jeff’s parents had spent a sleepless night waiting for a call or a visit from their son but it never came. As morning slipped away to afternoon, the Wrights called Susan and asked if Jeffrey had ever returned home. Yes, she told them, he had returned home to collect his clothing and they had wound up in a shouting match.
Jeff was so angry, Susan said, he took a bottle of bleach and shook it all over the bedroom and her clothing. This story really perplexed the Wrights and they were now even more desperate to talk with him. But again, Susan told them, Jeff had forgotten to take his cell phone.
Susan also received calls from Jeff’s boss and her neighbor. Susan told them the same story she told the Wrights. While Jeff’s employer wondered what to do about a vital employee, the neighbor encouraged Susan to file a report about the abuse with police.
After she’d told the story to several more people, Susan realized time was running out. The questions were getting more difficult to answer and before long some of these people, especially Jeff’s parents, were likely to show up. She had to do something more to get things back under control.
On Wednesday, January 15, 2003, Susan walked into Precinct 4 of the Harris County Constable’s office. There she filed a report based on the same story she told everyone else and had pictures taken of the cuts and bruises on her hand.
She told police she was fearful of what would happen when her husband returned and discovered she’d reported the incident to police, so she was granted a restraining order for her and the children.
By Saturday, Susan was about break under the pressure. Everyone kept calling and their questions were becoming harder to answer. She wasn’t sure how much longer she could take this. She wished everyone would leave her alone.
In the end, it was the family’s little chow-mix dog that sent Susan over the edge. When she looked outside to the spot where Jeff’s body was buried, Susan discovered the dog had begun digging at the thin layer of potting soil she’d spread across the grave and now Jeff’s arm reached out from ground and the back of his head was exposed.
But that wasn’t the worst part, not at all.
The dog, in an effort to pull its find from its hiding place, had chewed Jeff’s hand off and now it lay like a toy on the patio.
That was the final straw. Susan couldn’t go on another day.
Bundling Kailey and Bradley into the car, Susan drove to her mother’s home a few miles away. After Susan rambled on to her mother about restraining orders, cleaning up the house, and fear that Jeff would kill her if he returned, Susan Wyche was more confused than ever. Finally, she looked at her daughter and said, “Susan, did you kill Jeff?” With a slight nod of the head, Susan Wright slumped forward and put her head on the table.
Everyone was finally going to get a straight answer about the whereabouts of Jeff Wright.
Confessions and Courtroom Theatrics
At her mother’s advice, Susan sent her children to stay with her sister Cindy while her mother scrambled to retain the services of a criminal defense attorney.
Police were notified of where they could find Jeff’s body. Although Susan believed she’d thoroughly erased any signs of the murder from the house, the police found plenty of blood, not visible to the naked eye, in the bedroom.
Read More From CrimeWire
Susan Wright turned herself on January 24, 2003, and her trial began in February 24, 2004.
Susan took the stand in her own defense and claimed that she had killed Jeff in self-defense after he attacked her with a knife while screaming, “Die, bitch!” As an explanation of how she had come to stab him almost 200 times, Susan said that once she started she couldn’t stop because she was terrified he would kill her.
Prosecutor Kelly Siegler, on the other hand, argued that Susan’s tears were fake and that she had killed her husband in hopes of collecting on a $200,000 life insurance policy.
And to drive her point home just how deliberately Susan murdered Jeff, the Wrights’ actual bed was brought into the courtroom and Siegler, along with a volunteer, re-enacted the murder for the jury; pretending to stab “the victim” all 193 times.
This courtroom scene was very dramatic and not easily forgotten by anyone who has ever witnessed it. Especially for jurors, who no doubt after only five and a half hours, found Susan guilty of murder.
Susan was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for murdering her husband. But in 2005, when Misty McMichael, wife of former NFL Super Bowl Champion Steve McMichael, came forward and told of the violence and abuse she endured during her four years as Jeff Wright’s fiance, the Fourteenth Court of Appeals of Texas, in an unprecedented move, granted Susan a new sentencing hearing.
On November 10, 2010, five years was taken off Susan’s sentence, making her eligible for parole in February 2014. She was denied parole on June 12, 2014, and July 24, 2017. She was granted parole in July 2020 and released from prison on December 30, 2020.
Bradley and Kailey had been adopted by Jeff’s brother, Ronald Wright, Jr. At her resentencing hearing, Susan said she hoped to be released from prison and get her children back. Apparently Susan hasn’t thought of two very important points:
- Chances are slim to none that the adoption would be reversed, and
- Do her children want their mother back?
© 2016 Kim Bryan
Kathryn on July 20, 2018:
This author is awful and needs to do more research.... Jeff Wright was found with tons of cocaine in his system and after the trial they had more witnesses come forward to vouche that Jeff had a violent past.
AU on July 14, 2018:
Her history reminded me so much at mine. After years of psycologic abuse and drugs I never thought I was going to be able to get out of that situation. When I find myself having this agly feelings of revange and anger I knew it was time for me to leave. Specially when my kids got affected, as a mother you can endure so much, but when they somebody your children, a mother turns as an wild animal. I left the house with nothing, only with my kids, my dog and the conviction that I wasn't going to leave my life in fear and my children seen the abuse. Is not easy but you can, is always a way out.
Black Dahlia on February 25, 2018:
When you're a victim of abuse all your life, you're indoctrinated to have this lifestyle in marriage too and so is your abuser; i.e, a match made in HELL for sure and how it ends up is never good but what she did to escape!? OMFG that is SICK and is just not something a programed victim is going to do nor is your abuser ever going to put themselves in such a vulnerable position by his victim. We know she 'controlled' what happened in the couples' bedroom not him. He might have been a dick but she was the abuser. Just my opinion.
Oscar on December 28, 2017:
Susan Wright is a beauty, just found the wrong man to marry.
Adam on July 10, 2017:
Im' sure, that Susan Wright ist needing your witness. It can teally help her. Specially because you was a neighbor!
I will be happy to hear a good news from you.
Lori on May 27, 2017:
I knew Jeff way before they even knew each other, My hubby knew him evwn better, we moved to Clearlake in 1995 and meet him at our pool in the same complex he lived in...We all became friends...He liked drugs and women a whole lot...And very much a womanizer. My sister and her husband also knew him, and knew Susan also...We has mived from Tx in 1998 but returned for a visit in 2000 when their son was about 1. Jeff was not a good husband or father, You could totally tell Susan was afraid of him. she wasn't allowed to speak unless he said, or even order her own meals at a resturant. He was just as much a monster as some of you see her to be...You really dont know unless you knew him or seen the way he treated his woman or wife...I seen it, and I dont blame her one bit for what she did...She had to protect her kids and her self. He was fucking crazy
Nan on April 21, 2017:
Nobody knows what it is like to live with a narcissist controlling head case they brain wash you until you think that is all you have or can get in life ,mental abuse is worse then physical..and don't matter if you get away they always find there way back..you don't put fuel in the fire the more you do it makes it worse so you live and deal with it until you can't handle anymore ..i totally get where she was. Coming from and I don't believe prison. Was the place for her she needed help to find herself after all she been threw...
Anonymous on April 11, 2017:
As a wife of 5 years, who was severely emotioanally and psychologically with severe physical starting. I walked with the clothes on my back. I filed restraining orders....not worth much. He got a slap on the hand. I could support myself, planned a new life. But then he started stalking me relentlessly. 30 yrs of harassment, never ending. Lost my job, future jobs, a love of my life, everything. I moved states, it got worse. The police said i haf to be bloody or in the hospital seriously hurt to help me. After 30 yrs, his 4 th wife caught him calling my phone 28 times a day. It finally ended. Yes, you can charge harassment. He goes to jail 1 night and gets out angrier. With an objective of not wanting anything to do with him, this puts you in contact for years going through the court system. That coming from someone who lived it and did the " right thing" by giving 2 yrs in court to get the divorce. Then lost any kind of life i could have because the answers are difficult and takes up your time and life. My lawyers told me to kill him and he would get me off from murder easier than what he was going to put me through. I couldn't afford a trial lawyer nor did i have it in my dna to kill. Looking back, all these guys need is to be put in the hospital themselves, and then some. If you have not lived it, dont judge. Its also called the silent crime because you get turned down for help enough, you dont ask, tell, or seek out help. Your self esteem is already shattered.
jb on March 02, 2017:
Abuse...In less your educated..Mrs upstate NY....Watch how your advice is given... Educate yourself..Or dont because your sympathy is lacking...Glad you have this perfect life... Because your thinking is one track...
Kim Bryan (author) on January 24, 2017:
Not to be argumentative but I agree with Paula, @Financially Abused, it's not impossible for one to get help leaving an abusive situation in 2017 - unless the one asking for help isn't willing to meet certain conditions (ie, cutting contact with abuser, minimal volunteer hours) or unwilling to reduce their lifestyle, in some cases.
Suzie from Carson City on January 24, 2017:
Kim...my comment posted twice so I had to delete one so you wouldn't have double of the same comment....
*TAVA*.....my only comment to you is, I'm glad you are safe now. It's apparent your abusive EX inherited his ignorance from his mother.... Good Luck to you.
Suzie from Carson City on January 24, 2017:
Financially abused... I am sorry to know of your tragic situation. However, if you sincerely want an answer from someone, I'll do my best.
Understand please, in 2017, I cannot and in fact, do not believe you have been either "turned away or denied any form of help" from the agencies you claim to have contacted. The reality simply is that this is not credible. It is clear to me that you have not explained your issues well enough, adamantly enough or have not spoken to the correct person or agency. Although, even if this is the case, these people are trained to refer you to help that can & WILL give you assistance. (I'm assuming you live in this country!)
A single non-employed woman with health problems & in protective facilities is certainly eligible for free health care. Health Insurance should not be an issue nor an excuse to remain in an abusive home. If 2 attorneys advised you as you claim....they should be disbarred. This is even harder to believe than the agency statements. You have no family? Do you also have no friends, no neighbors, no fellow church members? Can you not confide in your Drs or nurses? If you are being "abused".....you CAN get out. Start sharing your problem and needs with everyone you come in contact with. Talk and disclose this dangerous situation and do not STOP until someone helps you.
Suzie from Carson City on January 24, 2017:
Ava.....I'm sure your sentiments are nearly the same as mine, so I assume you are merely making a general statement aimed at the public in general. I'm still somewhat baffled as to what this woman's true motive was for killing him....because it surely was not what she claimed!
Financially Abused on January 24, 2017:
Paula - sometimes it is impossible to leave, like my case. I'm 59, too sick to support myself and need insurance for my health conditions. I have no family, none. I have checked every social service agency including women's shelters, legal aid, social security etc., and was told every time that they could Not help me. I was told by 2 attorneys that I could not leave and keep a roof over my head, that I had to,tough it out. So, no excuse not to leave? Tell me how to do that, please.
ava edwards on December 29, 2016:
What a bunch of feminist liberal bullshit! This woman is a cold blooded murderer. She could have left, don't give me the trapped bullshit not in this day and age hell back in 2003 either. Spare the hell out of me.
Suzie from Carson City on June 04, 2016:
Hello Kim.....Good to hear from you at last! I doubt Susan will be the most popular girl in the neighborhood when she does get paroled......and I'd suggest she not try to join "Match.com" or "E-Harmony.com".......LOL!
Kim Bryan (author) on June 03, 2016:
I apologize for that, fph. I get very focused on writing and use that to my advantage and doing these writer's block spells, well, here I am! lol
My guess is Susan will probably get early release on her fourth attempt. That just seems to be a magic number in parole hearings. Hopefully she'll just blend quietly back into society.
Suzie from Carson City on April 30, 2016:
I'm quite familiar with this one! I read a lot about it & saw a video of parts of the trial. I recall the trial when the Prosecution set up a bed in the court room to re-enact this woman's insanity.
She was a real doozy. While she acted like a lunatic, and seemed to appear to be off her rocker, she was as "dumb as a fox." Too bad it didn't help her any. ANOTHER one who needed to be found guilty and locked up. Although she was given a new sentence and had 5 years reduced....she was eligible for parole in 2014, yet is still incarcerated? Couldn't make parole I take it.....
These people who kill their spouses are the stupidest people in the world. No reason for it....JUST LEAVE. In this day & age there's no excuse to remain in an abusive relationship! There just isn't.
I have read SEVERAL of your hubs and commented but I have no way of knowing if you're aware of it since you've left not a single response to me.