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Man pleads guilty to killing pregnant TV chef and her husband

By Ed Adamczyk
Television chef contestant Cristie Codd was killed in 2015, along with her husband. She was five months pregnant. File photo courtesy of The Food Network
Television chef contestant Cristie Codd was killed in 2015, along with her husband. She was five months pregnant. File photo courtesy of The Food Network

April 28 (UPI) -- The man charged with the slaying of a pregnant Food Network contestant and her husband pleaded guilty in a North Carolina court.

Robert Jason Owens, 37, admitted killing Christie Shoen Codd, 38, a contestant on the The Next Food Network Star, her husband, Joseph Codd, 45, and their unborn child. Investigators said Christie Codd was five months pregnant at the time of the 2015 slaying.

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In addition to pleading guilty to three counts of second-degree murder, Owens pleaded guilty to two counts of dismembering human remains. Charges of robbery of the Codds' home were dismissed.

Under a plea deal with Buncombe County, N.C., district attorneys, Owens will spend a minimum of 59.5 years in prison.

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The family was reported missing on March 15, 2015 by family members. Investigators, who received reports that Owens was seen dumping items belonging to the Codds in a trash bin, found human remains in a wood stove on Owens' property, about one mile away.

Search warrants indicated Owens admitted he dismembered and attempted to burn the Codds' bodies after accidentally striking them with his truck. Codd told investigators he was barred from driving because of a previous conviction and that he attempted to portray the incident as a robbery gone wrong.

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"Jason Owens confessed to being responsible for killing the Codds and burning their physical remains in his woodstove. This truly horrific crime presented many challenges, but in the end, the victims' families fully support this resolution in that it holds Jason Owens accountable for precisely what he admitted doing," District Attorney Todd Williams said in a statement after the court hearing Thursday.

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