48 Hours on ID is investigating the death of Kathleen “Kat West,” who was killed by her husband, Jeff West, at their home in Calera, Alabama, in 2018.
The case was notable for the strange circumstances surrounding Kat’s death and the shock expressed by the community in Jeff’s actions, who had been well respected in the area.
On the morning of January 13, 2018, a neighbor discovered Kat West’s body lying on the road across from her house. The 42-year-old was partially nude and had suffered blunt-force trauma to the head.
The police discovered two pools of blood not far from Kat’s remains which led them to conclude that she had been murdered and then dragged into the street. Lying beside West’s body was her cellphone and an open bottle of absinthe, but the cops felt that the items had been placed there deliberately to make it look like she had been hit by a car or had fallen.
The suspicion soon fell on Kat’s husband, Jeff West. The pair had been having a date night the night before, and they had both been drinking heavily. Surveillance footage at a liquor store showed them buying alcohol before heading home; it was the last time anyone saw Kat alive.
Kat and Jeff West had problems in their marriage
The cops later learned that the West might have been having trouble with their marriage. Kat regularly posted pictures of herself to the adult subscription website, OnlyFans, which the investigators believe caused friction between the pair. Jeff was also annoyed with his wife’s drinking.
The police believe that on January 13, Kat had asked her husband to take sexy photographs of her to post on social media and that this had led to an argument. They suspect that Jeff threw her cellphone out into the street, and when she went to retrieve it, he followed her outside and bashed her over the head with the absinthe bottle.
Jeff was a campus police officer at the Birmingham Southern College, which meant he knew a little bit about crime scenes. According to the cops, he tried to stage Kat’s death to look like an accident. But his plan failed as he was arrested for murder a month later.
Jeff West continued to insist on his innocence and claim that his wife had been a victim of a fall. However, a jury disagreed with him in November 2020. He avoided a conviction for murder but was found guilty of reckless manslaughter.
At the sentencing, the judge was asked to take into account West’s former service in the military and his work within the community. Friends and family all described West as calm and loving; even Kat West’s mother spoke fondly of her son-in-law and asked for leniency.
However, Judge Bostick said: “Our laws designed to punish people not for who they are but for what they do. In this case, the jury found you to be responsible for your wife’s death.” West was sentenced to 16 years behind bars.
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48 Hours on ID airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.