AP NEWS

Katy man charged with murdering his wife

April 4, 2019

A Katy-area man is facing a murder charge after allegedly choking his wife to death and disposing of her corpse.

According to investigators, on March 19, Jay Patrick Hammersley, who turned 44 on Thursday, reported his wife Mara Vestal, 29, had left and not returned to their residence in the 20200 block of Golden Mesa in the Sun Down Glen subdivision.

On Wednesday, April 3, investigators charged Hammersley with murder and tampering with a corpse, after he reported his wife missing from their Katy area home. He reportedly told investigators Vestal had left two to three weeks earlier with her belongings.

According to the complaint, Hammersley “on or about Feb. 16, 2019, did then and there unlawfully, intentionally and knowingly cause the death of Mara Vestal, hereinafter called the Complainant, by impeding the normal breathing and circulation of blood of the complainant.”

The complaint further says that Hammerley committed an “act clearly dangerous to human life, namely by applying pressure to the complainant’s neck and throat.”

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Further, the complaint indicates that Hammersley struck Vestal with an “unknown object.”

Investigators interviewed Hammersley and during the course of the investigation, “he admitted to killing his wife and disposing of her body,” according to a news release.

He is currently being held on a $105,000 bond — $75,000 on a murder charge and $30,000 for tampering with evidence-human corpse — in the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Detention Facility. He is currently being represented by public defenders.

Hammersley has a criminal history in Harris County dating back to at least 1999, according to Harris County District Clerk records. In 1999, he faced charges of engaging in organized criminal activity, forgery and theft between $1,500 and $20,000. His latest charge in Harris County was for felony theft between $30,000 and $150,000 in 2018.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to call the Harris County Sheriff’s Office at 713-221-6000.

rkent@hcnonline.com