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Mother, son charged in death of her cancer-stricken husband

June 22, 2009 | 12:34 pm

A woman and her son face murder charges in Orange County Superior Court in the slaying of her cancer-stricken husband 11 years ago, allegedly to avoid paying for medical treatment and to profit from his life insurance and estate.

Sandra Jessee, 58, and her son from a previous marriage, Thomas Dayton Aehlert, 39, are accused of paying two men $50,000 to have Jack Jessee killed in the couple’s Placentia home.

Jack Jessee, 56, was stabbed repeatedly on the night of Aug. 13, 1998.

Sandra Jessee sold their home, collected her husband’s retirement savings and a life insurance settlement and moved to Arizona, where Aehlert lived, authorities say. In all, investigators say she collected more than $650,000.

New information in the case surfaced in 2005 that investigators say allowed them to link together the suspects in the case. One of the men who allegedly arranged the killing pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter last year. He is scheduled to be sentenced in July.

A trial for Jessee and Aehlert is set to begin today. If convicted, each faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

-- Mike Anton