The prosecution's motion to include hearsay allegations of domestic violence against Robert Jarrett in the murder trial of his wife was tabled after six hours of testimony Thursday in Howard County Circuit Court.
Jarrett was arrested on first- and second-degree murder charges for killing his wife, Christine Jarrett, who was reported missing Jan. 5, 1991. Howard County detectives found her remains April 18 buried under concrete in a backyard shed of the house the couple once shared in the 6000 block of Claire Drive in Elkridge. Later that evening, Jarrett was arrested in Prince Frederick in Calvert County, where court records showed he lived at the time.
Normally, a motion is filed by the defense requesting to exclude such testimony from the trial, but a spokesman for the state's attorney's office said the prosecution opted to fire a preemptive strike.
The prosecution presented six witnesses, including four members of the victim's family and a former county detective assigned to the case.
Testimony provided by the witnesses alleging that the defendant abused his wife were primarily based on conversations and interactions with the victim. Defense attorney George Psoras cross-examined the witnesses and questioned the accuracy of their recollections.
The prosecution also presented one exhibit, a copy of the victim's medical records, which was intended to corroborate testimony that the victim had sought medical attention for facial bruising and cuts.
Arguments are scheduled to continue before Judge Richard Bernhardt on Aug. 23.
Psoras said that he thought the proceedings went well and that his client plans to testify at the trial.
"He can't wait to have his day in court and clear the record. Mr. Jarrett never killed his wife," Psoras said.
When Christine Jarrett was reported missing, Robert Jarrett told police that she had walked away after an argument. She was 34 years old at the time.
On Jan 28, 1998, the Howard County Circuit Court declared Christine Jarrett dead and declared the date of her death to be June 10, 1993.
According to police, Robert Jarrett had never allowed them to search his home or property. The police could never obtain a search warrant and the case went cold.
After an anonymous tip relating to the case, police learned that Jarrett was no longer living at the house in Elkridge. Police had never spoken to Jarrett's new wife about Christine Jarrett's disappearance, and on April 17 they contacted her. The wife, who reportedly is separated from Robert Jarrett, gave police permission to search the property and they returned the next day.