Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

A Woman's Torturous Ordeal at the Hands of Jeffrey Maxwell

The Bad Man

Published: 04/24/2012 

Lois Pearson ID photo
Lois Pearson ID photo

Lois Pearson was a 63-year-old never-married former schoolteacher who had lived most of her life in rural Parker County, Texas outside a small town called Perrin. She lived alone in an old home that for 20 years had no running water. Pearson didn't really know the man that well at all, according to her friends, and she wouldn't call him by his name. "She would call him the 'bad man'," the victim's friend Maryanne Blakely would say, "She wouldn't call him by his name 'Jeff Maxwell' [she'd say] 'the bad man was over here today.'" Since 2000, when Jeffrey Maxwell moved onto a property near Pearson's, the man had made several romantic overtures toward Pearson — at least twice asking to kiss her. Each time he was rebuffed. Finally, she told him "Don't ever come to my house. Never." In 2005, Maxwell moved away; Lois Pearson thought she had seen the last of him. She was wrong.

On March 1, 2011, the 58-year-old Jeffrey Maxwell returned to the Pearson home. She recalled the two had a pleasant enough conversation outside — until his demeanor changed suddenly. "He had a bad look on his face... He then sprayed me in the face, in my eyes." Maxwell recalled. He then clutched the woman and tried to hustle her toward the back of her home. Pearson cut her hands on barbed wire, grabbing on for dear life. But Maxwell was too strong — he pulled her away and shackled her with handcuffs. He dragged her back inside the home and attacked her with a rolling pin. Somehow, the woman broke free and ran out of the house — but no one was close enough to hear or come to her aid — Maxwell soon caught up to her in his car and forced her inside.

House of Horrors

Jeffrey Maxwell booking photo
Jeffrey Maxwell booking photo

The 100 mile drive to Jeffrey Maxwell's home seemed to take forever. As Lois Pearson cried and struggled in the backseat, Maxwell asked her if she was a virgin (she later told prosecutors that she was). As a woman of faith, she thought "I was going to have to pray my way out of this." For 12 days, she was put through severe sexual torture and beatings so horrible, Maxwell would say to her "By the time I'm through, you won't believe in God."

When they arrived at Maxwell's home in Corsicana, Texas, he immediately stripped the woman in his garage, gagged her and affixed her to a homemade metal deer rack before beginning his depraved activities. He penetrated Pearson with sexual devices, placed clips on her nipples, and thrashed her with an eight-foot whip. Whenever Maxwell had to leave the home, he stashed her in a wooden box he called "the coffin" or chained her to the bed. Maxwell forced her into sexual acts every morning, except when he fell ill. The woman later recalled "I prayed, 'God, please don't let Jeff kill me. God, spare my life.'"

In exchange for her freedom, Pearson offered Maxwell money and her property in Parker County. "He said, 'I'm not interested in your property," she would say later, "he even asked me if I would forgive him. I told him yes because I had to go to heaven." Prosecutors would later allege that Maxwell returned to Parker County on March 3 to set the woman's house on fire — apparently to bury his tracks. He killed Pearson's three cats in the process. Maxwell did force his hostage to sign a $500 check to him. That mistake tipped law enforcement to pay a visit to the Maxwell home on March 12, 2011. Maxwell went out to speak with Parker County deputies, and told them he had not seen the missing woman in years. By chance, Pearson had been left unshackled when the sheriff's patrol car arrived. She saw the authorities through a window and ran out the door to safety, exclaiming "I'm here". A medical examination would show she had suffered a concussion, a broken left arm, and extensive bruising all over her body. Jeffrey Maxwell was arrested immediately.

Investigators searched the house and took various creepy items into evidence, including the deer rack and "the coffin", pepper spray, leather straps, whips, chains, a bible, sex toys, weapons, and woman's underwear stained with blood. They also found a collection of pornographic videos, including one entitled "Brutal Woman's Prison 3."

Jeffrey Maxwell would be charged with aggravated kidnapping and two counts of aggravated sexual assault. He faced a potential sentence of life imprisonment.

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