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'Off the charts' disturbing: Katy-area man tried to burn wife's body with 150 pounds of charcoal

“When you say disturbing, on a scaled of one to 10, it’s off the charts,” said Carvana Cloud with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.

KATY, Texas — A Katy-area man is behind bars,accused of strangling his wife, burning her body, putting her remains in a trash bag and throwing it into a dumpster. 

Jay Hammersley, 44, confessed to the murder of 29-year-old Mara Vestal and gave investigators all the gory details.  

“When you say disturbing, on a scaled of one to 10, it’s off the charts,” said Carvana Cloud with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. “This is a very horrific, very tragic, very personal homicide.”

Credit: KHOU

Hammersley allegedly killed Vestal in February after coming home from a strip club. 

He didn't report her missing until March 19, and told investigators Vestal left two to three weeks earlier with her belongings.

Hammersley is also charged with tampering with evidence because of what happened after Vestal was killed.

“The defendant admitted to officers that, after strangling the complainant, he placed her body in a shed outside for two days before buying over 100 pounds of charcoal and attempting to cremate her body,” a court clerk said during Hammerley's court appearance Thursday.

VIDEO: Harris County D.A.'s Office holds press conference on the case

After burning her body, Hammersley is accused of placing a trash bag containing his wife’s remains on the curb.

Neighbor Jacob Porter believes they may have first been placed on his family’s property.

“The story my mom told me is that he left the bag on our lawn,” Porter said. “It was heavy and my dad dragged it back to his lawn.”

Investigators say Hammersley later admitted to throwing the remains away at a dumpster where he works.

Officials said there’s no history of domestic violence here at the Hammersley home.

That may be part of the reason his bond was set at $105,000.

No immediate neighbors seemed to know the victim very well..

But they were very saddened by the details of her death.

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