Approximately one year ago a woman by the name of Debra Jeter did the unthinkable. Instead of protecting her children as God designed her to do, she picked up a knife and slashed the throats of her 12-year old (Kelsey) and 13-year old (Kiersten) daughters. One died (Kelsey) and the other somehow survived because the same Debra Jeter placed a 911 call asking for emergency help for her barely living daughter who begged her mother to save her (talk about a drastic change of heart). Now, one year and one day after it happened, Debra Jeter has pled guilty to capital murder and attempted capital murder after plea bargaining out of capital punishment and receiving life without parole instead.
Naturally, the question that arises in the minds of every normal person that comes across this kind of story is, “How on God’s green earth could a person do this?” There is evil…and then there is bone-chilling evil. What would possibly make Debra Jeter do such a thing?
Precipitating Events Leading up to the Crime:
1. On May 21, 2009 Debra Jeter, a 32-year-old nursing student, attempts suicide in front of her daughters by overdosing in her Hillsboro, Texas home. She is then placed in a Waco-based Heart of Texas Region MHMR and then spends four days being treated at the DePaul Center .
2. Her husband, Lester Jeter, subsequently files a protective order against Debra Jeter. Sometime later he files for divorce. Debra Jeter wrote to the court that she “does not agree” with her husband’s filing for divorce, and said she was “answering with a general denial to the divorce papers.”
According to documents, Lester Jeter told the judge, “She may be released within a few days and I am concerned about her possible actions regarding the children.”
3. The day after the protective order expires, Debra Jeter tells her estranged husband around 6 p.m. she has a suprise for her daughters and wants to pick them up for the weekend. Three hours later Debrah Jeter is calling 911 and Sheriff Jeffrey T. Lyon says what he finds is horrific. Kelsey was found dead in the bathroom and Kiersten is flown to a hospital with a slashed neck and stab wounds in the back from an apparent attempt to protect her sister.
Chilling 911 Transcript & Audio (Listen Here)
Admittedly, when I first heard this 911 call I couldn’t believe how calm and “matter of fact” Debra Jeter was in telling the dispatch lady how she had killed her kids. But then Debra Jeter changes suddenly into a frantic and caring mother begging dispatch to please hurry because there is chance they can still save one of them. Here is a partial trancript of that 911 call on June 5, 2009, according to the-raw-deal.com:
Dispatch: Hill County 9-1-1, what’s your emergency?
Debra Jeter: I just killed my children.
Dispatch: Excuse me?
Debra Jeter: I just killed my children.
Debra Jeter: I’m in the house walking around. One of ’em is still alive…for real. She’s asking to be saved and I couldn’t handle that.
Dispatch: She says she’s in an abandoned house.
Debra Jeter: It’s been a long time, she might already die cause she’s bled out a lot. Hold on. What baby? (muffled) What did you say? (muffled) She said please hurry.
Again, we revisit the question of what would influence Debra Jeter in killing her very own children? From the given context of the story it would appear that the “revenge factor” stands out as the strongest reason that would explain the actions of Debra Jeter. At least, this would be my best guess. Dr. Phillip Resnick, the director of forensic psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University, as well as one of the psychiatrists who provided expert testimony in Andrea Yates’ 2002 trial in Houston gives the following statistics in trying to help formulate a theory on Debra Jeter:
1. It is most common for a parent to kill their child unintentionally, as a result of abuse or neglect.
2. It is rare for a woman who is merely depressed to kill her child. Usually there has to be an accompanied psychosis where one hears voices urging them to kill their children, as in the Andrea Yates case where she believed Satan was inside of her and that she needed to kill her 5 children in order to save their souls. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Unlike Yates though, Debra Jeter was found competent to stand trial.
3. One in every 22 homicides are filicides (killing of a child).
4. The least common motive, he said, is revenge on the other parent.
Even though Resnick lastly states that revenge is the least likely reason, rarity doesn’t rule it out. But I would like to engender a causation closely related to the second one above and that is demon possession. I personally believe that the demonic is responsible for more in our world than the media would like to give validity to. How many times have we heard in these types of news stories where the killer admits to “hearing voices.” If we go a step further, how many times have you or I had warped, gross, and wicked thoughts that we wondered where they came from. The only difference is that most of us choose not to act upon those evil and heinous thoughts. Should we really pretend that there is nothing evil besides ourselves at work in our world.
Jesus Christ casted demons out of people and so did his disciples. There is even a verse in the Bible that directly attributes Satanic work in breaking up relationships, “Do not deprive each other [of marital sex] …so that Satan will not tempt you because of your self-control” (1 Corinthians 7:5). This seems to imply that Satan can lure a spouse into adulterous affairs or illicit sexual activity not ordained by God. It also implies that adultery is Satanic. And if I am a betting man I would bet any spouse that has been cheated on would feel “hell was unleashed” on their relationship the moment they found out.