A 30-year-old woman reportedly admitted to strangling her former roommate and trying to set her body on fire following an argument about missing food stamps.
According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Oklahoma, Jessica McBride and her boyfriend lived with the victim, Tracy Russell, in exchange for help with groceries. However, the victim reportedly asked McBride and her boyfriend to leave the home.
McBride allegedly went back to the home on March 17, 2019, and strangled Russell to death. McBride told authorities she and Russell got into an argument because she believed the victim stole her food stamps, the Attorney’s Office said. The theft allegations have not been substantiated.
McBride reportedly placed a blanket over Russell’s deceased body before attempting to set the remains and home on fire, though her efforts failed.
According to the Attorney’s Office, McBride and another person planned to make a second attempt at setting the body and home on fire, but the person reported the crime to authorities on March 20, 2019.
That night, an undercover investigator and the individual who reported McBride drove with the suspect to Russell’s home, the Attorney’s Office said. McBride reportedly brought gas camp fuel and lighter fluid.
Tulsa Police Department officers were on scene and took McBride into custody, according to the Attorney’s Office.
McBride was arrested and booked into Tulsa County Jail for first-degree murder and first-degree arson, records show. On Friday, Sept. 23, McBride reportedly pleaded guilty to the crimes.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson said, “Jessica McBride stayed in the home of the victim, and in return, she took her life because of missing food stamps.”