Navy sailor charged in wife’s murder

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A Navy sailor has been charged with killing his wife inside their Virginia home Sunday while the couple’s two children were there, The Daily Press reported.

Petty Officer 1st Class Mark Freel, Jr., allegedly shot and killed his wife, Katherine Freel, inside their Williamsburg home Sunday around 12:45 a.m., said York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Dennis Ivey Jr., according to

The couple’s 4-year-old son and 5-month-old daughter were not injured and are reportedly now in the care of their maternal grandparents.

The drama unfolded early Sunday morning, according to the Daily Press, after Mark Freel made a 911 call. The details of what the suspect said during the call were not revealed.

Freel, 26, was arrested at the scene after law enforcement officers responded to the family’s residence and found Katherine Freel, 27, shot with a semi-automatic handgun, said Ivey, according to the Daily Press.

“There was overwhelming probable cause that [Freel] was the one who committed the crime,” said Ivey, who described it as a “domestic situation.” He did not elaborate.

Freel is charged with second-degree murder and use of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He is being held without bond at the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail.

“I could sense that something didn’t seem right . . ."

— Darlene DeCosta

According to the Daily Press report, Katherine and Mark Freel were socializing with neighbors Saturday afternoon, just hours before Katherine was killed.

Mark Freel had been working on his pickup truck while the couple’s son rode his Big Wheel and Katherine held their baby daughter, who was wearing a “Daddy’s little girl” onesie.

Neighbors said the couple, who moved to the neighborhood about three months ago, seemed happy, according the Daily Press report.

“I thought they were nice,” Winston Boots, who lives across the street from the Freels, told the Daily Press. “I was really surprised. “They weren't a rowdy bunch.”

Deputies had visited the block earlier Saturday to break up a squabble between Mark Freel and a neighbor, Darlene DeCosta, who lives with her husband, Phil, next door. Ivey said it hadn't been a serious argument, and no report was filed.

DeCosta said Freel called the police on her following an argument regarding their homes’ property lines.

“I could sense that something didn’t seem right, and he [has] one big attitude,” said De Costa, according to “He even shoved himself up toward me, got in my face. I was staring at him right in the eyes; he said, ‘Hit me. Hit me. Hit me.'”

“That wasn't the first time they'd argued,” said Derek McCleary, another neighbor, the Daily Press reported.

A spokeswoman for the Navy confirmed to that Freel is an active-duty Navy sailor. He is currently assigned to Joint Task Force Civil Support at Fort Eustis and will remain on active duty pending the outcome of the investigation.