DENVER (AP) — A woman who poisoned her father and encased his body in concrete in a crawl space under the suburban Denver home the two shared was sentenced Monday to life in prison without parole.
Dayna Jennings, 45, was sentenced for the death of William Mussack, 69, whose body was found in his Federal Heights home in January 2018 about a month after family and friends stopped hearing from him. An autopsy determined Mussack was poisoned by acepromazine, an animal tranquilizer.
Jennings was convicted in July of first-degree murder and tampering with a human body.
"Jennings repeatedly misled the family after they became concerned about Mussack, describing everyday routines as if things were fine," said Chief Deputy District Attorney Rhoda Pilmer. "All the while, she was scheming about how to get rid of her father's body. She researched the drug, ordered it, received it. All of those were opportunities to stop and ask herself, 'Am I really going to poison my father?'"
Mussack's son, Brian, told police his father sent a text message Dec. 7, 2017, saying Jennings had "drugged" him and he "had been unconscious for 15 hours after taking a bite of hamburger she had given him," according to an arrest warrant affidavit. That was the last time he heard from his father.
Federal Heights police started investigating the disappearance later that month and reported the house smelled "like sewage and something rotting" when they tried to interview Jennings, who told them a toilet had overflowed and that her father had gone to the mountains with his girlfriend.
As investigators searched the house on Jan. 10, 2018, Jennings was taken to the police station for an interview. One of the officers questioning her received a text message that police at the house had found human remains.
Police continued the interview and, at some point, Jennings acknowledged pouring concrete in the crawl space, according to the affidavit. Police then told her investigators at the house were breaking up the concrete, at which point she asked for an attorney.