Bo Pete Jeffrey, 55, was arrested Thursday in the Nov. 5 murder of Lisa M. Jeffrey.
OCALA, Fla. — Marion County’s record number of domestic violence deaths grew by one on Thursday when an Ocala man was arrested and accused of killing his ex-wife.
Bo Pete Jeffrey, 55, was being held on a charge of first-degree murder in the November death of Lisa M. Jeffrey, 48. Investigators said he admitted purchasing garbage bags to wrap his ex-wife’s dead body after repeatedly punching her in the face on Nov. 5.
Jeffrey’s death is the 13th death by domestic violence so far this year in Marion County, authorities say. Before this year, the highest number of domestic violence deaths in one year was 11, in 2012.
The suspect told a Marion County detective that he and the victim were involved in a physical altercation at their home on Nov. 5, which was Lisa’s birthday.
Jeffrey reported punching Lisa three or four times. After the fight, they both went to bed, he told the detective. He said the next morning, he found her dead in the bathroom of their camper.
In an interview with a detective, Jeffrey said he felt responsible for her death. He said he went to a store and bought garbage bags and used them to cover the victim’s body. He reported hiding her body underneath a bed.
Authorities said Thursday that Jeffrey is in custody in Putnam County.
The Jeffreys were married for five years but divorced two months ago, according to a report by Marion County Sheriff’s Detective Damon Baxley. The report states that the two lived together until the time of her death.
An autopsy revealed the victim’s hands, arms and legs were bruised. She had multiple broken ribs on her right side and a laceration on the back of her head. Lisa’s right ear had tears, authorities said.
On Nov. 27, the victim was reported missing by her aunt in Marion County.
Marion County Deputy Calvin Batts interviewed one of the victim’s children, a daughter, about her mother’s disappearance. The woman said she had not seen her mother since Nov. 5 and made travel arrangements for her mother to visit her in Oklahoma.
The woman said when she asked Bo Pete Jeffrey if her mother had received the plane ticket, he said he had not seen her since Nov. 6 and did not seem concerned.
Batts interviewed Jeffrey about the victim’s whereabouts, and he said she stole $700 from him and had a drug problem. Batts said it appeared Jeffrey was trying to avoid answering questions.
Detectives obtained a search warrant for the camper, went inside and found the victim’s decomposing body wrapped in plastic underneath a bed. Hidden under the bed beside the woman’s body was a pair of bloody boxing gloves, according to sheriff’s officials.
Officials said there was blood spatter throughout the camper, giving the appearance that the woman was beaten inside the camper. It’s unknown if the suspect spent time in the camper with his ex-wife’s body after her death.
On Thursday, Lisa’s 15-year-old daughter, Paris Riley, said the family remains in shock and is taking the death very hard. She said there were instances of domestic abuse between her mother and step-father, but they were never reported. Paris said she never expected Jeffrey to kill her mother.
During their investigation, detectives also arrested Patience Helen Burton, 47, and charged her with providing false information to law enforcement officials in regard to a missing-person investigation. Burton, sheriff’s officials said, was not truthful about her communications with the suspect or his whereabouts.
Austin L. Miller is a reporter for the Ocala (Fla.) Star Banner.