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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Sunday, August 25, 1991
Author: By Kim Bell; Of the Post-Dispatch Staff
A Webster Groves woman suffering from what friends described as a long-term mental illness was in jail Saturday. She was charged with killing her husband at Lambert Field on Friday – two weeks short of their 25th wedding anniversary.
The husband, Christian E. Jaynes, 48, died at 12:11 a.m. Saturday of gunshot wounds to the head and neck. Jaynes’ wife, Beverly, had just picked him up at the airport Friday afternoon from a business trip to Ohio.
”He put the luggage in the trunk and was shot almost immediately after driving off,” said Robert P. McCulloch, St. Louis County prosecutor.
Beverly Jaynes, 46, is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. She lives in the 100 block of South Maple Avenue in Webster Groves. On Saturday night, she was held without bond at St. Louis County Jail.
Friends say Christian Jaynes moved out several months ago, but the couple often ate dinner together and met on weekends to call their children at college.
The couple separated at the urging of Beverly Jaynes’ psychiatrist, who wanted her to work out some problems on her own.
”This is a struggle that just somehow exploded,” said a longtime friend of Beverly Jaynes, who asked not to be identified. ”This is definitely a loving family. They’ve tried to get help for her, to get her well. It’s just sad.”
The shooting at 2:50 p.m. Friday was at the flight arrival driveway at Lambert Field.
Police found Christian Jaynes sitting up in the driver’s seat of a Nissan Sentra.
The driver’s window had been shattered, possibly by a shot, and Beverly Jaynes was seated beside her husband. He was rushed to DePaul Health Center in Bridgeton, where he died nine hours later.
His wife was treated at the same hospital for shock. She was booked at the County Jail shortly before 9 p.m. Friday.
Beverly Jaynes had no police record. A .38-caliber handgun that police found hidden in the Sentra was hers, McCulloch said.
County Police Detective Tony Griemel said police targeted Beverly Jaynes as the killer based on accounts of the incident provided by several witnesses and on evidence found at the scene.
McCulloch said police had found several witnesses, at least one of whom saw the actual shooting.
Christian Jaynes had flown into Lambert Field on Friday afternoon from Lancaster, Ohio, where he visited the Ralston Purina Co.’s cereal plant on business last week.
Jaynes worked as an information systems consultant at Ralston. He had worked at Ralston for more than 20 years.
”He was a personable guy, a laugh-a-minute,” said Robert Newett, one of Jayne’s co-workers.
Police blamed marital difficulties for the shooting. But friends of the couple believe the real culprit was Beverly Jaynes’ illness.
A close friend said Beverly Jaynes suffered from ”a deep depression, a deep mental illness.”
”It’s been a battle,” the friend said. ”She had struggled with this illness for a number of years.” She had seen a psychiatrist and was on medication, friends said.
”She was much better a couple years ago, and a few months ago, it began to change as these things often do,” one friend said. ”A lot of us were trying to help her.”
Another friend of 15 years said: ”If in fact she did this, she snapped.”
The couple had lived in the large, two-story, cedar siding house with baby blue trim on Maple Avenue for at least 20 years.
The couple have three children – Bryan, Barry, and Rebecca.
While the depression took its toll since it worsened last fall, friends say, Beverly Jaynes was a loving mother.
”That came through in the way she looked at her children, took care of them,” a friend said. ”There’s no question about that. She was a dedicated mother in those earlier years and the conflict began to emerge later on.”
Christian Jaynes, a former Boy Scout scoutmaster for Troop 301, had planned to take off work next week to take one of his children back to college. One son attends Duke University; Rebecca attends Stephens College in Columbia. Friends described Christian Jaynes as a faithful husband, patient with his wife’s illness.
In 1983, Beverly Jaynes ran for a seat on the Webster Groves School Board and lost. She frequently wrote letters to a local newspaper voicing strong opinions about school policies and board decisions.
Neighbors say Beverly Jaynes kept to herself but could also be outspoken and quite critical at times.
”Bev Jaynes was a real sweet gal, but was apparently off the rocker sometimes,” One neighbor said. ”She would come to city council meetings and raised all kinds of hell.”
Beverly Jaynes, who majored in English in college, tried to get out of the house to do more creative things, but often the stress would be too much, friends say. She had enrolled at St. Louis Community College at Meramec to take classes in paralegal studies.
SOURCE: Ann Scales Cobbs and William C. Lhotka of the Post-Dispatch staff contributed information for this story.
Caption: PHOTO (COLOR) Headshots of Christian E. Jaynes and Beverly Jaynes.
Index Terms: pxjaynes murder death shooting charge arrest separation problem treatment witness; m
Record Number: 4910046403
Copyright 1991 St. Louis Post-Dispatch