Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Love Triangle Murder of Lt. Commander Fred Trayers

Saturday Morning


Bloody bedsheets presented as trial evidence.
Bloody bedsheets presented as trial evidence.
According to Jennifer Trayers, she slept little Friday night as her husband worked the overnight shift at Balboa Medical Center. When he got home around 7:15 am on Saturday morning, Jennifer said she was desperate to speak to him about their relationship and about their future. Fred told her he was tired and that he wanted to sleep before having their serious talk. As he took a shower, Jennifer noticed Fred had left his Gmail account up on the computer. Jennifer said it was at that time she sent her e-mail to Danielle Robins.

Having tipped her hand about the other woman, Jennifer knew it wouldn't be long before Fred realized he had been found out. Fred continued to put off their conversation, but Jennifer wouldn't be denied. She grabbed a butcher knife and got on the bed -- then she asked Fred how she should best slit her wrist. Jennifer expected Fred to protect her and then talk to her, but he just started laughing and exclaimed he had a better knife; he took a K-Bar knife out of his nightstand drawer and gave it to her. Surprised and enraged, Jennifer began poking her own chest with the knife in order to draw a reaction from her husband.

At this point, Fred reached for the knife and the two struggled, causing a few more incisions to Jennifer's chest in the process. Jennifer said she was feeling "hot and angry" in a way she had never felt before. When Fred reached over to his nightstand, Jennifer assumed he was reaching for the butcher knife, and she stabbed him in the back of the neck. The last words Jennifer remembers Fred uttering were "let me help you." After that, Jennifer says, she blacked out.

All in all, Jennifer Trayers would stab her husband 11 times.

Police Arrive at a Grisly Scene

The butcher knife.
The butcher knife.
When Fred Trayers missed his hospital shifts on Saturday and Sunday without so much as a phone call, his colleagues called law enforcement. Police arrived at 3750 Grim Avenue Apt. 2 at about 6:20 am on Monday, December 6, 2010 -- what they found shocked them. Fred Trayers was dead, his body curled up on the floor next to the bed, still entangled in bedding. He was stabbed about the neck and back -- knife wounds had perforated his heart, lung and kidneys. The intense struggle had saturated the bedding with blood -- and blood drops were found on the headboard and the wall above the bed as well. Fred Trayers suffered multiple defensive wounds on his hands and forearms. A coroner would later find the prescription sleep aid Zolpidem in Fred's blood. Toxicologists later said the amount of drugs in Trayers' system would have relaxed him, but would not have left him incapacitated.

Jennifer Trayers was still alive, but seriously injured. She was transported to Scripps Mercy Hospital where doctors found approximately 36 sharp force injuries to her chest area -- including a cut artery in her upper gastric area and a partially-collapsed right lung. Jennifer had lost a lot of blood, and might have died in hours had police not arrived when they did.

As the condo was locked and there was no sign of forced entry, police quickly determined that the Trayers were victim and perpetrator. Who was who became clearer when investigators found four manila envelopes stacked neatly on the kitchen counter -- the envelopes contained printed e-mails and text messages between Fred Trayers and Danielle Robins.

Jennifer Trayers would soon be charged with the murder of her husband. She was arraigned in her hospital bed, and held on $2 million bail.

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