Motherhood is too fucking much: The murder suicide of Corinne and Jayne Peters

A fable of motherhood gone berserk

I have a confession to make. I’m a mother; that’s not the confession. Recently, I did something that most non-murderer or abuser mothers would find grimace-worthy. I FORGOT MY SON’S DANCE RECITAL. Yup, that’s right. I was fucking CONVINCED that the “Spring Bling” recital was on Sunday, May 6th. Whelp, it was on Saturday, May 5th. Oh, ladies and gentlemen the shame spiral went DEEP that day. I felt a sense of great loss for myself, for my MEMORY BOOK (aka Instagram), for my child and his experiences.

The result was hardly a blip. My husband bought him some ice cream as an expression of, “Sorry we fucked up, and are shitty parents. You deserve better.” My son truly did not care. But, for my ego, this act of negligence was an agression on my image as a mother. That scarecrow of a woman and mother that I prop up in the cornfield of life, to keep the crows impressed, was just in tatters.

This brings me to the story of the murder of Mary Corinne Peters and suicide of Jayne Peters. This story is about many things. It’s about the nonchalance of pro-gun culture, its about keeping up appearances in middle-class life, but what I took from it, was a fable of motherhood gone berserk.

Jayne & Corrine Peters (CREDIT: Personal Photo)

In July of 2010, 19-year-old Corinne Peters was embarking on a new life, fully clothed in college swag and the proud owner of a brand new 2011 silver Hyundai Sonata. Corinne had long been a dancer, and was known as a happy and authentic person. She was heading off to college at her “first choice” school, UT Austin.

Corinne’s mom Jayne Peters, was the mayor of the northwest Dallas suburb of Coppell, Texas. By news accounts, Jayne was a force in Coppell. She lived the same upper-middle class lifestyle as her neighbors. She put together neighborhood events, she was a public servant, and she worked contract in IT. On top of all of that, she was organized. So organized in fact, that when police came to her home for a welfare check 2 days after the murder & suicide, she had her city issued computer & Blackberry sitting out noted as city property for the first responders. We’ll get more into that later.

Jayne and Corinne’s life, although put-together, wasn’t perfect. Approximately 3 years earlier the patriarch of the family Donald Peters had lost his battle with colon cancer. The grief in the Peters home was, as all grief is, a pervasive black-and-blue shadow over the family, snuffing out the light. The Peters were not well-insured, and when Donald passed, the bills mounted, and the house fell into forclosure. The Peters’ middle-class dream was also being snuffed out.

Unbeknownst to her daughter, Jayne Peters was drowning in debt. Her home was on the chopping block and she owed thousands of dollars to the city for charging personal expenses to her city issued credit cards. The spending had not gone unnoticed in the Office of the Mayor, and it was likely that this misappropriation of funds would ruin Jayne in Coppell.

Jayne probably just wanted her only child Corinne to be happy, and to have all of the things that children in this world have now-a-days. Jayne took care of everything for Corinne, including her college admissions. Jayne was just organized like that.

Jayne had tightly organized and coordinated so many tasks in the days leading up to Monday, July 12th, 2010. She had a lot on her mind. For instance, Jayne told Corinne that Corinne could not go to the previous UT orientation, because Jayne was awaiting her cancer screening results from her doctor. The mayor also BORROWED A GUN (Because Texas. Guns are like lawnmowers there).

That Monday the 12th, Corinne was finally going to orientation at UT, and was up at 6 a.m. loading items into her shiny silver car. Jayne was up early as well, trailing her daughter closely. As Corinne walked from the laundry room toward the garage, Jayne shot her only daughter at point blank range once in the back of the head. According to the final police investigation, “Jayne Peters adjusted the body position of Corinne Peters after the shooting.” The bullet exited the dancer’s left temple.

Corinne Peters (CREDIT: Personal Photo)

Corinne’s dream of the Health Science Program at UT was not to be, and not just because she was murdered. Had Corinne shown up at orientation, she would have known. Corinne was never admitted to UT, because she had never applied. Jayne had taken care of everything, and by everything I mean nothing. Jayne’s ruse was fairly tight. Corinne was convinced that she had gotten in to the University. Her mother had submitted all the paperwork for her. Friends speculate that there were no red flags in Corinne’s mind because this is just the type of thing Jayne would do. She “took care of everything,” on her daughter’s behalf. She was so organized.

After the murder Jayne set to it! Ticking off the tasks on her list. The first task, was to return the Hyundai, Corinne’s graduation gift, to the rental car lot. That’s right, Jayne’s second, less major than you-got-into-college-when you-really-didn’t, but still-pretty-major, lie was that the car didn’t belong to Corinne at all. It was all a facade paid for in embezzled city funds. And the emotional manipulation to end all, the cancer scam. The cancer center that Jayne was awaiting her results from (the results that had kept Corrine from the first UT orientation), has no record of her as a patient.

As Jayne headed out to the rental car to remove Corinne’s items, the neighbors greeted her and asked how she was. She said, “Good.”

The text of one of Jayne’s many notes (its from a pro gun website that I’m not going to link to, but it checks out)

Here are a few other things that Jayne did that day: Wrote three suicide notes, one of which indicated that Jayne & Corinne had some sort of suicide pact (there is no evidence of this beyond the note). She wrote up a list of family to contact to deal with the estate. Jayne set Donald Peters’ urn out. She drafted notes for the first responders on the scene. Jayne drafted notes on how to properly care for the family pets. The mayor wrapped her daughter’s head in towels, and set 4 teddy-bears outside the laundry room door.

Finally sometime in the late night or early morning, Jayne Peters used the same gun to take her own life. She laid down in the bathroom on her right side and shot herself in the forehead, depressing the trigger with her right thumb. She had pictures of her husband and daughter with her.

Think what you will about Jayne Peters, but the woman was ON IT. She was willing to risk everything, literally everything including her daughter’s own life to avoid admitting to herself, as much as anyone else, that the bar for survival had become too high. And that’s how my recital story ties into the Coppell tragedy, albeit to minuscule degree. The bar was too fucking high for me, too. I couldn’t get my kid to his dance recital for a myriad of reasons. Jayne couldn’t grieve her husband and send in her daughter’s college applications, and afford a car for her daughter, or keep the roof over her daughter’s head.

We dont know what the straw was that broke the camel’s back in the Peters’ home, but it sure as fuck came from a scarecrow.


That one time we DID make it to a dance recital

Sources:

CBS News

Dallas Daily News

Dallas Daily News

Dallas Daily News

City of Coppell, TX press release