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Jury Finds Man Guilty in Triple Slaying

June 20, 1985

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) _ A man who told police he ″freaked out″ when he fatally stabbed a woman and two girls during a robbery and then set the house afire was convicted Wednesday of three counts of aggravated murder.

A Butler County Common Pleas jury found Rhett DePew, 31, guilty in the fatal stabbings of Teresa Jones, 27; her daughter, Aubrey Jones, 7; and Mrs. Jones’ sister, Elizabeth Burton, 12.

Jurors then returned for a death penalty hearing in the case.

County prosecutors completed their case Tuesday after playing a taped confession they said DePew gave to sheriff’s deputies. On the tape, DePew said he went to the Jones home to rob it, thinking no one was there.

″I didn’t go over there to kill them. I just kind of freaked out with all the screaming,″ DePew said on the tape.

DePew said in the confession that he went into the house, heard screaming from a rear bedroom and was surprised at the door of the master bedroom by Mrs. Jones. DePew said he stabbed her five or six times, then began stabbing the two girls after she fell.

″I just started stabbing in both directions.... It was like I was surrounded,″ DePew said.

He said he used a match to set fire to the clothes in Teresa’s closet. ″I just stayed around to see if it was going to burn,″ DePew said on the tape.

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