Trial begins for mother accused of killing, dismembering husband’s body

Video wife killed by husband

LAPORTE — Opening arguments began Tuesday in the murder trial of a former South Bend resident who is accused of fatally shooting her husband and dismembering his body with her children present in 2021.

Thessalonica Allen, 36, is charged in La Porte Circuit Court with murder, abuse of a corpse and altering the scene of death, both level 5 felonies. She’s also charged with two level 5 felony counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and two level 6 felony counts of neglect of a dependent.

LaPorte resident Thessalonica Allen, 36, formerly of South Bend, is charged with murdering and dismembering her husband, Frank Allen. Her trial began July 25, 2023, in LaPorte Circuit Court.

Allen shot her husband, Frank Allen, in the couple’s bedroom while two of her children were home at Maple Tree Apartments, 1405 W. 18th St. on on July 27, 2021, authorities said. Allen said she killed her husband in self-defense, alleging that she fired the shots as he lunged toward her during an argument.

Frank Allen was shot in the arm, and the bullet deflected toward his ribs and pierced a lung before coming to rest near his spine, officials said. He was an abusive husband, and a protective order was in effect against Allen at the time of his killing, Thessalonica Allen’s attorney told the jury.

The Allen family had been living in South Bend when Thessalonica Allen moved to LaPorte to get away from her husband several weeks prior to the shooting, defense attorney Frank Rodriguez said. But Frank Allen moved into the apartment with his wife and children a short time later, the attorney said.

“She was trying to defend herself,” said Rodriquez said of Allen during his opening statements to the jury.

However, the killing was premeditated, based on notes Thessalonica Allen had written and police recovered from the residence, La Porte County Deputy Prosecutor Julianne Havens said. The notes outlined Allen’s plans to either kill her husband or have him fired from his job or arrested, the prosecutor said.

On the day of the shooting, Frank Allen told his wife that he was leaving, but she responded, “you’re not leaving; you’re not going anywhere,” then shot him, Havens said during opening arguments.

“She was planning to do it all along, not because she had to. She wanted to,” the prosecutor told the jury.

The argument stemmed from a social media post Frank Allen found on his wife’s computer, Thessalonica Allen’s son, Deshawn Addison, 16, reportedly told authorities. A short time after the argument started, Addison heard a gunshot. He went to the bedroom with his sister and saw his stepfather lying on the floor, officials said.

Thessalonica Allen then told her children not to call 911, and she made no effort to help her husband as he bled to death, Havens said. Allen then left home to pick up her two other children from daycare and purchased cleaning supplies. Allen then instructed her two older children to help her clean up blood from the apartment, the prosecutor said.

Allen later asked the same children to help her drag the body to her vehicle, Havens said, adding that the woman planned to drive the body to South Bend and set the vehicle on fire.

However, the body which was in a tote, was too heavy to place into the vehicle, and they dragged it back inside the residence, Havens said.

The next day, Allen allegedly purchased an ax that she used to dismember her husband’s body, which she hid in a closet. The next day, she reportedly invited the father of her four children to the apartment and asked him to help her put the body in the car. However, the man left the home and called police, Havens said.

Police later found Allen in her car outside of a hardware store and took her into custody. She immediately stepped out of her vehicle sobbing, and told officers “you guys don’t understand. He beats me,” police said.

The trial is expected to last for about a week.

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