October 21, 2014

Woman sentenced to life in brutal hammer-beating death of husband

A Fairbury woman will serve a life sentence for the murder of her husband. Susan Dejong was sentenced Thursday to the life term, and a consecutive 50-year sentence for use of a weapon to commit a felony.

Jefferson County District Judge Paul Korslund spoke of the beating death of Thomas Dejong, at the hands of his wife.

Judge Korslund says the man “bled to death inside his skin” as he was beaten so badly, being struck repeated with objects including a hammer.

The 52-year-old Susan Dejong was convicted in a February jury trial in Fairbury. The judge described Thomas Dejong as loyal to his wife, despite suffering from domestic abuse over the years.

“Thomas Dejong was basically a suffering servant,” the judge said. “He did not deserve the brutal assault that was inflicted upon him by Mrs. Dejong over a period of days.”

When asked for her statement, Susan Dejong began sobbing and her words were inaudible. After the hearing, Jefferson County Attorney Linda Bauer said the maximum sentences were appropriate.

Bauer says there have been cases of abused husbands, but they tend to be less visible than those involving women as victims.

She noted the tragedy of the killing, which prosecutors said was the result of Susan Dejong suspecting that her husband was in a relationship with another woman.

“You can’t bring the victim back and his family has to live with his loss,” Bauer says. “You hope that having seen justice done in the system that there is some sort of healing for them and that they can maybe move on now.”

Susan Dejong has no parole possibility, unless the life sentence is commuted later to a set number of years. She received credit for 419 days already spent in custody.

By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice