Man accused of killing wife convicted of killing first wife in 1994

[image] Person of interest in custody

A husband accused of murdering his wife Sunday morning was convicted years ago for killing his first wife.

Tony Degrafreed, 50, is accused of murdering 47-year-old Rebecca "Becky" Degrafreed inside the family's home on Laurel Hall Drive. That's on the city's northeast side near 46th and Arlington.

"She was the foundation of her family," said family friend Lynn Howard.

Her loss runs deep.

"Today she would've been picking her mom up and taking her to church," Howard said.

But around 8 Sunday morning, family members say Tony Degrafreed beat and stabbed the mother of three to death.

"We were all just sleeping and we heard a thumping noise and he normally has seizures so we thought he was in there having a seizure and I was knocking on the door banging on the door multiple times," said the victim's son Jordan Yarbro.

Jordan Yarbro jumped up to go into his mom and step-dad's front bedroom.

"I stepped back to kick the door in and he swung it open and came at me trying to stab me," Yarbro said.

His physical wounds are minor, but the emotional trauma is severe.

"It is a hard thing for any child to see, definitely being the baby and losing a twin at birth," Yarbro said.

Degrafreed was convicted in 1994 of killing his first wife. Court documents indicate he was sentenced to 30 years in prison for murder and carrying a handgun without a license but he was released early before serving out that full term.

Meanwhile, Yarbro tries to find comfort in his mother's legacy.

"She touched a lot of lives with working in IU Methodist hospital," Yarbro said.

Jordan wears a shirt from there, where he himself was treated for his wounds.

Police say Tony Degrafreed ran off after the attack. Officers caught up with him at Devington and Arlington Roads, about a half mile from the scene.

"We're getting reports from the family that he apparently killed his first wife," said IMPD Homicide Det. Marcus Kennedy.

"I really didn't want my mom to marry him," Yarbro said.

Criminal records indicate Tony Degrafreed served 12 years for murder and got out in 2006.

"You can tell when people have problems and he's always had some kind of problem," Howard said.

But months later, the two married, with several pictures showing the happier times. Family members say it's those memories they'll hold dear as they grieve this pillar of the family.

"Sometimes you just have to let go and let God that's exactly what we're doing this moment," Yarbro said.

Police say that there were a total of six adults and three children in the home at the time. The three children range in age from two to ten-years-old.

Sunday night, Tony Degrafreed was preliminary charged with murder.

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