Defense attorneys contend that a woman charged with killing her husband in Bibb County in 2005 didn’t ask her boyfriend to do the killing — or help him dismember the body.
Crystal Mae Wagner, 29, is charged with murder in the death of her husband, Bobby Gene Wagner. She faced the death penalty before a February hearing, but prosecutors dropped it in exchange for Wagner’s waiving her right to a jury trial.
Chief Bibb County Superior Court Judge Martha Christian will decide Wagner’s fate. Testimony is scheduled to continue today.
Laura Hogue, one of Wagner’s defense attorneys, said in opening statements Monday that Wagner’s boyfriend, 29-year-old Shay Alan Morey, acted alone in killing Bobby Wagner.
She said Morey acted in a fit of jealousy and rage. Crystal Wagner didn’t ask Morey to kill her husband, Hogue said.
“That would ruin the thrill,” she said.
Crystal Wagner has a physical deformity from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and she is mentally crippled by the feeling that men won’t find her desirable except as “a piece of meat.” She needed the attention of men arguing and fighting over her, Hogue said.
But prosecutor Elizabeth Bobbitt contends that Crystal Wagner asked Morey to kill her husband so that she and Morey could be together. At the time of the killing, Bobby and Crystal Wagner were living with their son and Morey in a hotel located near Thomaston Road and Interstate 475.
Bobbitt said Crystal Wagner and Morey discussed the idea of killing Bobby Wagner for a few days before Morey agreed and the two formulated a plan.
Bibb County sheriff’s Capt. Dennis Hagerman testified that deputies recovered rope and cords from the hotel room after the killing. Deputies also found two cinder blocks in the Wagners’ car.
Bobbitt said Crystal Wagner and Morey planned to use the rope and cinder blocks to help them dispose of Bobby Wagner in a body of water after the killing.
Their plan, Bobbitt said, was that Crystal Wagner would lure her husband into the bathroom, telling him that they were attending a birthday party and he needed to get ready. Morey then would kill Bobby Wagner, she said.
On Feb. 10, 2005, Bobby Wagner was in the shower when Morey struck him repeatedly on the head. Although the blows caused cuts and bleeding, Wagner survived and went back into the hotel room. He asked Crystal Wagner to call an ambulance and told Morey to leave, Bobbitt said.
Bobby Wagner returned to the bathroom followed by his wife. Crystal Wagner came out and told Morey that Bobby Wagner was calling the police. Morey went back into the bathroom, where he stabbed Bobby Wagner in the heart, Bobbitt said.
Morey dismembered the body after discovering that he couldn’t move Bobby Wagner, she told the judge.
Four days later, authorities found Bobby Wagner’s remains behind an abandoned house in Twiggs County, said Lee Weatherby, a GBI crime scene specialist. Wagner’s body was covered by a pile of aluminum hubcaps and cast-iron sinks.
Wagner’s face was badly burned, but authorities found his wallet, a letter addressed to him and pay stubs. Blood-stained towels and the weapons used to dismember Wagner also were there, Weatherby said.
Wagner’s cell phone also was recovered. His last outgoing call was placed just before 9 p.m. Feb. 10 to the Bibb County sheriff’s office, Weatherby said.
His co-workers testified Monday that he had expressed fear that his wife might try to kill him in the weeks preceding his death.
Robert Allen “Bobby” Wagner, manager of Heart of Georgia Towing Co., said Bobby Wagner seldom talked about his personal life, but he confided in his boss about his fears. He also asked to work on his days off so he wouldn’t be at home.
“He was very nervous,” Robert Wagner testified. “You could tell it was really bothering him.”
Lori Jones, a former office manager at the towing company, said Bobby Wagner told her he’d considered leaving his wife, but he was concerned about their son.
When Bobby Wagner didn’t show up at work Feb. 11, Robert Wagner, who is not related to the deceased, tried to call him on the phone and the company radio multiple times before he drove to Wagner’s hotel room and knocked on the door. Although the Wagners’ car was outside, no one answered the door.
Robert Wagner returned Saturday, and Morey answered when he knocked on the door. Crystal Wagner and the Wagners’ son also were there, he said.
“It looked like they just got up,” he said.
Morey and Crystal Wagner said Bobby Wagner had gone to Florida, Robert Wagner testified. “That room was in a total mess,” he said. “The odor was so bad I could hardly go in.”
Crystal Wagner initially told authorities that she slept through the period when her husband was killed after she took a sleeping potion. Later, however, she said she didn’t take the potion, Bobbitt said.
Wagner told authorities that Morey killed her husband and she didn’t turn him in for fear he’d kill her young son, Bobbitt said.
Morey pleaded guilty in 2006 to killing and dismembering Bobby Wagner. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He has alleged that Crystal Wagner was involved in “virtually every stage of the crime.”
Information from The Telegraph’s archives was included in this report.