LIMA — A man with a violent past confessed to strangling his girlfriend during an argument, according to court records.
Ross McWay told Lima Police Detective Steve Stechschulte he pushed Wendy Jeffers during an argument then grabbed her by the throat. He continued to squeeze tighter until he strangled her. When he noticed she still was breathing, he pushed her head into water which an autopsy confirmed, according to court records.
Jeffers was found dead inside her apartment Jan. 15 after she didn’t show up to work as a nurse at a hospital in Fort Wayne. McWay, who once served 13 years in prison for killing a man, was released from jail two days earlier after his acquittal on rape charges.
When Jeffers didn’t arrive for work, coworkers became concerned and called police. Several coworkers spoke with the 39-year-old Jeffers the day before and she told them she was concerned about McWay, who she said was her ex-boyfriend who used to stay with her, according to an affidavit Stechschulte filed in the case.
“They advised Ms. Jeffers told them she ended their relationship and Ross wasn’t happy about it,” Stechschulte wrote.
After coworkers called police, officers drove to her home at 1112 N. Main St. where they forced entry into the house and found her dead, police said.
Stechschulte spoke to McWay in the days that followed Jeffers’ death. McWay said he had not been at the house since two days before her death and was at his brother’s home. McWay’s brother and a woman told Stechschulte that McWay left the home for about three hours and they didn’t know where he was, according to court records.
Armed with that new information, Stechschulte spoke with McWay again and McWay confessed to killing Jeffers. McWay, 37, said he went to her home sometime late on the night of Jan. 14 to the early morning hours on Jan. 15, the same day her body was found, according to court records.
Prior to killing Jeffers, McWay said he and Jeffers were having a conversation about the status of their relationship and their future. The conversation turned into an argument, he said.
McWay was charged with murder but that charge was dismissed just before his scheduled preliminary hearing at Lima Municipal Court on Friday. A prosecutor declined to comment on why the charge was dropped.
McWay, however, remains in the Putnam County jail where he is being held. Typically in the past, prosecutors sometimes take a case to grand jury to avoid the release of all the facts in the crime before it goes to trial. There was no record of an indictment against McWay when the court closed Friday but the records sometimes are not immediately made part of the public file.
In 2001, McWay and another man killed 21-year-old Jimmy Bunley. They shot at the car Bunley was driving, causing him to crash. McWay and the other man then ran up to the car and shot Bunley six times. Bunley died from his injuries.
The rape case happened March 23. McWay met a woman with a history of drug abuse at a local bar. They went to an apartment, where they had sex after the woman was unable to pay him for crack cocaine. The woman asked McWay to stop in the middle of sex to which he agreed. McWay kept after the woman for sex as payment for crack cocaine but the woman kept refusing and asked McWay to drive her home.
McWay, instead, drove the woman around and then to a dead-end street where the woman said she was raped. She said she did not want to have sex with McWay and told him no. A jury acquitted him of raping her.
Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.