Just before 4pm on March 11, 2011, 54 year old Susan DeJong called the Jefferson County Nebraska emergency dispatch to report that her 52 year old husband Thomas was not breathing and was cold to the touch. She stated that Tom had been in South Dakota to be with his “whore” and came home “all beat up”. The operator had Susan begin CPR until emergency units arrived at their rental home at 55930 Highway 136, about nine miles west of Fairbury.
When emergency personnel arrived, Susan was hysterical and she repeatedly stated that the “whore” did this to Tom. Emergency personnel found that Tom was not breathing and there was no heartbeat. He had dried blood around his nostrils and the top of his mouth. His hands, arms, feet, legs, torso and head were all visibly cut, scratched and bruised. CPR efforts were able to restart Tom’s heartbeat before he was transported to Jefferson Community Health Center then to Bryan LGH Medical Center in Lincoln.
Lab and blood test results indicated a threat of imminent heart and renal failure. A chest x-ray showed multiple rib fractures and a partially collapsed lung. A full body CAT scan revealed a swollen brain; a tremendous amount of fractures within the chest cavity; spinal fractures; a broken scapula; a fractured nose, and a possible fracture of the hyoid bone. The treating physicians concluded that Tom would not recover from his injuries and following permission from Susan, Tom was removed from Life support. He died shortly thereafter.
One of the examining doctors in Lincoln described the visible injuries to Tom as being small incisions and bruising over most of his body and face. He suffered blunt force trauma and bruising near his knees familiar with “a pedestrian being struck by a car”.
Susan drove to Lincoln where she was interviewed by Investigator Wendy Ground from the Lincoln Police Department. Susan told Ground that Tom had returned home from South Dakota that morning looking pale that he had stated that he did not feel well. He was repeatedly stating to Susan that he was sorry and that he had made a mistake. According to Susan, Tom said his mistress did not love him and wanted to kill him.
Ground asked Susan about Tom’s medical history and she stated that he had been feeling weak and clumsy for the last 2 ½ years. After Tom was declared dead Susan was transported to police headquarters for an interview.
During her interview she stated that Tom was often called a “weenie” because he was beat up by his “whore” all the time and he just took it.
“He used to come home bruised, bloody nose, black eyes. He’s got marks on him that are not from me. He’s got scars on his back that are not from me. Everybody thinks Toms such an innocent man. He used to be. He used to be the most loving, gentle, sweet man you could meet. Till he met that cunt. Then they started molesting children. I still say I think he was on drugs because you don’t drive 14, 16 hours with nothing. He is what he is from what he plays with.”
At one point during the interview Susan asked if she was under arrest, then she continued to ramble.
“Self-defense because I don’t bruise, he does. That’s pretty much the way it goes. She did that to him. I have to be arraigned in 24 hours. I know that. Just like the deal in Minnesota. And he’ll walk away scott free. And there’s a lot of injuries that he had that were not from me. Why didn’t I just leave? Why didn’t I just run? I need some sleep, so tired. I haven’t slept for two days. It’s all partly true. The whole story is partly true. I don’t know. I didn’t hit him in the head. He fell on it. I stepped on it. That was after he threw it at me is how it ended up there. I’m not under arrest. I can go outside and have a cigarette if I want.”
Shortly after 4am March 12, 2011 Susan was placed under arrest and charged with first degree murder and the use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony.
According to the probable cause affidavit for Susan’s arrest, Tom sustained injuries to nearly every part of his body and “would have had great pain and suffering from the wounds.” A search of the house found that the beating appeared to have taken place throughout the main floor, as blood was found in most of the rooms. Seized during the search was a weapon described as a sword or bayonet with a sheath that had blood and hair on it. When asked by a detective what happened to a coffee cup in the house Susan replied, “his head cracked it.”
During the trial, evidence was presented that showed more than 70 drops of blood throughout the house; blood and DNA from Tom on the hood and front fender of Susan’s pickup; several hammers with blood and DNA from Tom.
In Tom’s autopsy report the pathologist found defects on Tom’s hands and arms that she described as defensive wounds. She stated that she had “never seen someone so extensively injured” and that Tom’s death was a homicide. Expert testimony for the defense opined that Tom’s was really beaten up in the last 24 to 36 hours before his death.
It was revealed that in September 2010 Susan had exchanged instant messenger chats with her son James about Tom. Stating that, “I can’t do this anymore. I’ve come to realize I literally hate him. Now I wish he was dead. I really hate him more than I have ever hated ANYONE. I’m looking to get rid of Tom.”
The week prior to Tom’s death he reported to his farm job as normal on Tuesday. He was bruised and had a little trouble getting around but he was there. He called in sick on Wednesday and Thursday. His boss drove by his house on Thursday and found both Susan’s and Tom’s vehicles in the driveway. His cell phone showed no pings or calls made anywhere other than the Fairbury and Hebron, Nebraska area.
Susan DeJong was found guilty of first degree murder and use of a deadly weapon and was sentenced to life plus 50 years to be served consecutively. She is currently housed in the Nebraska Corrections Center for Women in York, Nebraska.