They were an unlikely couple.
Michael McNew was a 64-year-old father and grandfather — a divorced pharmaceutical executive with a well-trimmed beard, a nice pair of glasses and a large, four-bedroom home outside of Trenton, N.J., according to the Trentonian.
Jennifer Lynn Morrissey, who had moved into McNew’s home in 2015, was the polar opposite: She was a 33-year-old dancer and motorcycle mechanic, with tattoos and a checkered criminal record, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Morrissey told others that McNew was her “sugar daddy,” prosecutors told NBC 10. McNew even bailed Morrissey out of jail in 2016, the Trentonian reports, paying 10 percent of her $50,000 cash bail after she pleaded guilty to drunken and careless driving in Oct. 2016.
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A year later, though, the relationship had soured, police say — and in August 2017, McNew was found dead at his home with a bullet in his head, according to the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office.
Morrissey has been charged with criminal homicide for allegedly killing McNew after he tried breaking up with her and kicking her out of his house, according to NBC 10. Police say that, after Morrissey killed McNew, she tried to make the crime scene look like a robbery that had gone awry. Morrissey has admitted to police that she tried to make the death look like a robbery, but she maintains that the shooting death was accidental — the result of what her lawyer called a “kill or be killed” moment.
The couple met four years ago while socializing, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Morrissey’s preliminary hearing in court was Monday, NBC 10 reports. She’s being held without bail at the Bucks County Correctional Facility, the Trentonian reports.
Before his death, Morrissey had sent a string of threatening text messages to McNew, many of them in response to his insistence that she not come back to his house, according to NJ.com.
McNew had told Morrissey on Aug. 6 that he was boxing up the belongings that she’d left at his house, the Trentonian reports, and that she shouldn’t come back.
But Morrissey responded by threatening violence.
“Get the gun ready cause I’m coming. I already told you that I’ll be there tonight … guess your [sic] just gonna have to shoot me,” one of the texts read, according to the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office. “I’m gonna stab ya.”
But when she arrived at the house, police say, Morrissey shot McNew. An autopsy revealed that he died of a single bullet to the head, NBC reports.
After the alleged homicide, prosecutors say Morrissey took the older man’s phone and laptop so that she could bury them in the yard of her new boyfriend, according to NBC 10.
And to “eliminate any gunshot residue,” according to court testimony, the new boyfriend allegedly urinated on Morrissey’s hand.
Morrissey has also been charged with burglary, possession of instruments of crime and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.
“I don’t believe she’s a victim,” the prosecutor said in court on Monday, according to NBC 10.
In September, Morrissey’s lawyer told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the allegations against his client were the result of criminal informants spreading rumors.
“She’s a mom and we look forward to getting the facts out in an actual courtroom and hearing what happened that evening,” S. Philip Steinberg, her attorney, told the newspaper.
Morrissey told police that she and got into a confrontation, struggled over the gun and then she accidentally killed him, NBC reports.