DETROIT, MI — On May 14, 2014, 51-year-old mother of three Kimberly DeJohn died in a closet. She had been beaten savagely about the head and back, and then stabbed in the abdomen and leg until her killer bound her wrists and ankles, stuffed a plastic shopping bag in her mouth, and fatally strangled her with the cord from an electric blanket.
The man who perpetrated these brutalities upon Kim was Loyd Dejohn, her 48-year-old husband.
The murder occurred around 2 A.M., after Loyd returned home from his shift at a local steel company. Kim was up and waiting for him, fuming with anger. She had discovered that Loyd had been carrying on an affair with Anjelica Gonzales, his own 24-year-old cousin.In anger over the betrayal, Kim had smashed some of Lloyd’s prized collectible items. Once Loyd saw his treasures in pieces, he exploded with homicidal rage.
After killing Kim, Loyd covered her body with a blanket and simply left it in the couple’s upstairs closet. The very next night, Loyd invited Anjelica Gonzales to move in with him, and they had sex while the dead woman rotted just a few feet away.
Once Gonzales complained about a smell akin to “rotten eggs or dead meat,” Loyd moved Kim’s remains to the back of his truck.
For the next two weeks, Loyd drove around town, including daily trips back and forth to work, with his wife’s corpse hidden inside his vehicle. Eventually, Loyd snuck off to northern Michigan and ditched Kim in a shallow grave. Investigators dug up her body on June 17.
When officers arrested Loyd Dejohn, he initially claimed that, yes, he and Kim had a volcanically loud dust-up over another woman, but that she took off into the night right afterward and he hadn’t seen her since. Nobody bought that bunk for very long.Following claims of mental incapacity due in part to a metal plate in his head, a judge ruled Loyd Dejohn competent to stand trial for first-degree murder and illegally disinterment of a corpse. The proceedings commenced on September 13.
Assistant Macomb County Prosecutor Bill Cataldo told the jury that Loyd’s murder of Kim had been long premeditated and mapped out in the killer’s mind — he was just waiting for an opportunity to put the deadly plot in motion.
Cataldo claimed that Loyd frequently spoke of killing Kim and disposing of her body. Mark Nortley, Loyd’s defense attorney, admitted that his client had, in fact, killed Kim, but it occurred on the spot during a psychotic tantrum, without prior planning.
Nortley also conceded that Loyd may have spoken openly of murdering his wife but, really, the guy was just joking. Citing Loyd’s possession of a hearse and a coffin, as well as his membership in a club for hearse owners, Nortley stated:
“[Loyd is] a strange bird. His sense of humor is probably not consistent with ours…. My client is bizarre, to say the least.”
The trial lasted one week. Anjelica Gonzeles testified against her cousin-boyfriend. Others took the stand to relate Loyd’s different accounts of what had happened to Kim that night — none of which were true.
On September 20, the jury left to mull over whether to convict Loyd of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, or manslaughter. Following three and a half hours of deliberations, the 12-person panel returned and threw the book at the defendant.
The judge sentenced Loyd Dejohn to life in prison without the possibility of parole. And there are no closets behind bars.
Main photos: Loyd Dejohn mug shot; Kimberly Dejohn police handout [Macomb County Sheriff’s Office]