SAN DIEGO – A woman accused of fatally stabbing her Navy physician-husband after she found out he was having an extramarital affair must stand trial on murder charges, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Jennifer Trayers, 42, is charged with attacking Lt. Cmdr. Dr. Frederick Trayers last December.
The 41-year-old victim — who had therapeutic amounts of sleep medication in his system — was stabbed multiple times, including twice in the chest and eight times in the back, according to testimony during the defendant’s two-day preliminary hearing.
The former Navy pilot, who was chief resident in emergency medicine at Naval Medical Center San Diego, was last seen at a work Christmas party the night of Dec. 3. His body was found the morning of Dec. 6 in a fetal position next to his bed in the North Park condominium he shared with his wife.
Jennifer Trayers was also found in the bedroom — on the other side of the bed — with self-inflicted wounds to different parts of her body and was treated at a local hospital, according to court testimony.
Deputy District Attorney Fiona Khalil told Judge David Gill that Trayers’ attack on her defenseless husband was premeditated and deliberate.
“She aimed for vital areas of his body as he was lying in his bed,” the prosecutor said.
Khalil said that for a period of several months, the defendant had been accumulating e-mail exchanges and other communications between her husband and a woman with whom he was having an affair.
The defendant ultimately sent an eight-page e-mail to her husband’s mistress, outlining how the woman would not have the opportunity to be with the victim and how the defendant would be the last person he would be with, according to the prosecutor.
“Her solution to her marital problems was to kill,” Khalil told the judge.
Defense attorney Kerry Armstrong argued that the crime was not premeditated and that his client be bound over on a charge of voluntary manslaughter instead of murder.
Armstrong said two knives were found at the crime scene, suggesting mutual combat.
Dr. Mona Colianno, who worked with Frederick Trayers, testified that he confided in her at least two or three times about his marital problems.
Colianno said Friday that she sensed trouble when the victim didn’t respond to requests for help planning an annual party that was near and dear to him.
“He said, `Look, there are more important things than a pirate party,”‘ the witness said, adding that she knew her colleague’s problems were big “just by the way he was acting.”
Gill ruled that enough evidence had been presented at the preliminary hearing for Trayers to stand trial on a murder charge that could result in 26 years to life in prison if she’s convicted.
The defendant — who is being held in lieu of $2 million bail — will be back in court March 8 for arraignment in Superior Court and to get a trial date.