A Texas man has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to fatally strangling his wife and burning her remains in his backyard shed.

Jay Patrick Hammersley of Katy was sentenced Wednesday to 40 years in state prison for murdering his 29-year-old wife Mara Vestal, burning her body, and discarding the ashes in a dumpster. The investigators could not recover the remains which Hammersley discarded in February 2019, Click 2 Houston reported.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office started an investigation in March 2019 after Vestal's family reported her missing after she could not be reached by phone for several days. Hammersley initially kept changing his version of stories connected to Vestal's disappearance but later admitted to killing her.

On Feb. 16, 2019, Hammersley returned home from a night out at a strip club and got into an argument with his wife. Hammersley claimed Vestal hit him first before he strangled her on the bed. He then dragged her body to a shed in the backyard where he stored her remains for two days, Law & Crime reported.

The investigators found out Hammersley called up a friend to help him cover up the murder but the friend declined. He then purchased more than 100 pounds of charcoal and burned her remains inside the shed. The ashes were then dumped into a series of trash bags which were left on the curb to be picked by garbage collectors. Since the trash bags were not picked up, Hammersley threw them at a dumpster near his job.

After the investigation began, Hammersley again approached the friend, saying that he had reported the wife's murder to the police. The friend realized that Hammersley was lying and reported it to the police.

Hammersley was arrested on charges of murder and tampering with a corpse after he turned himself to the police on April 3, 2019. He pleaded guilty to the charges earlier this month.

“She [Vestal] was taken from us at the age of 29,” Kelly Goering, Vestal’s sister, said in court during a victim impact statement. “She didn’t make this choice. God didn’t make this choice. Jay did. Jay took her from us,” she said.

gavel-6485824_1920 (1)
Gavel | representative image Pixabay