Robert Jason Owens murdered pregnant chef, Cristie Schoen Codd and her husband, Joseph Codd. He burned their bodies, pawned their belongings after staging a fake robbery
A North Carolina contractor went from working for a family to literally taking over their lives. Robert Jason Owens robbed and murdered pregnant chef Cristie Schoen Codd and her husband, Joseph ‘JT’ Codd. He burned their bodies, pawned their car and sold their belongings after staging a fake robbery scene.
37-year-old Owen pled guilty this week to killing the Food Network chef and her husband.
Robert Jason Owens was charged with three counts of second-degree murder and two counts of dismembering remains in the March 2015 event that resulted in the mutilation and wood stove burning of expectant “Food Network Star” contestant Cristie Schoen Codd, 38, and her husband, Joseph ‘JT’ Codd, 45.
JT and Cristie Codd lost their lives in their own home to a grizzly predator who worked hard to destroy evidence and cremate their bodies
To avoid the death penalty Owens admitted that he killed the couple to investigators last month.
He claimed he accidentally ran over the couple while they were helping him with car troubles. Fearing manslaughter charges, he burned their bodies, Owens told police.
Next he tried to stage a fake robbery involving the couple, authorities said. He pawned the family’s belongings and moved their vehicles.
According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, the plea deal stipulates that Owens will spend a minimum of 59.5 years to a maximum of 74.5 years in prison without the possibility of parole.
Cuffed and shackled, Robert Jason Owens escorted out of the court after the plea deal that sends him to prison for at least 59.5 years without parole Thursday April 27, 2017
In his statement Thursday, Buncombe County District Attorney ToddWilliams said investigators faced challenges from Owens having destroyed evidence.
“Because there are no surviving witnesses and Jason Owens had exclusive control of the crime scene for several days (at least 72 hours), and he had nearly completed the gruesome project of cremating his victims’ remains, we will never know many of the facts surrounding the Codds’ deaths,” Williams said
Owens the court heard, sold several items belonging to the Codds, including a grill and bullets, at two different pawn shops and at a flea market. With some of the proceeds he filled his truck up with gas and took his wife out dining.
Owens told investigators he sold the items simply to make it appear there had been a robbery.
However, in early April 2015, Owens had been indicted on a robbery charge.
The robbery indictments allege Owens robbed the Codds “by means of an assault consisting of having in possession and threatening the use of a dangerous weapon, to wit: a kitchen knife approximately 10 inches in length with a 6-inch blade and a 4-inch black handle, and/or a motor vehicle, and/or a firearm …”
The warrants allege Owens broke into the Codds’ home, robbed J.T. Codd of “a tan and black backpack and its contents” and Cristie Codd of “a laptop computer, jewelry and a Glock handgun.”
The robberies were made “from the person and presence” of the victims, according to the indictments.
Owens had worked as a contractor for the Codds and became a suspect in their disappearance when a neighbor spotted him putting “unusually large” trash bags in a dumpster outside his home.
According to aCBS reported, Owens was “heavily impaired” on prescription medication for a mental illness during the time of the deadly incident, as his attorney claimed.
Recounting the difficulties in making the prosecution’s case, DA Todd Williams said:
“Because there are no surviving witnesses and Jason Owens had exclusive control of the crime scene for several days, and he had nearly completed the gruesome project of cremating his victims’ remains, we will never know many of the facts surrounding the Codds’ deaths,” Williams said.
“What we do know is that through both a solid investigation and a competent interrogation by law enforcement, Jason Owens confessed to being responsible for killing the Codds and further admitted to dismembering and burning their physical remains in his wood stove.”
Accepting a plea bargain to avoid the death penalty, Owens was handed a sentence of between of 59 1/2 and 74 1/2 years.
“We can only hope that he suffers for the remainder of his life on Earth and again as he rots in hell,” relatives of Cristie Schoen Codd told the Citizen-Times in a statement.