Who Was Behind the Killing of Marilyn Monroe Look-a-Like Kat West? '48 Hours' Examines

48 Hours
48 Hours

Kat West was found dead in the street in January 2018, and police initially believed her death may have been linked to her account on the adult site OnlyFans.

Kathleen West, a 34-year-old mom, was found dead in the street in January 2018, and police initially believed her death may have been linked to her account on the adult site OnlyFans, on which she played up her resemblance to Marilyn Monroe. It would later turn out that the truth was much different.

First responders in Calera, Alabama on Jan. 13, 2018 found West lying in the street in a pool of blood with a gash in her head and a liquor bottle with West’s phone on top of it. She had died of blunt force trauma. Police immediately knew something didn’t seem right about the scene, according to an episode of “48 Hours” airing Saturday.

"It did appear that the body had been moved,” Calera Police Sergeant Mike Mehlhoff told correspondent Maureen Maher in the show’s new episode: "The Mysterious Death of Kat West."

Earlier that night, West’s husband, Jeff West, had posted a picture of the same liquor bottle to his Instagram, and he told police they had bought the bottle at a liquor store after a date night and then continued drinking at home. He then told authorities he went to sleep and was later awoken by police cruisers and dogs barking, CBS News reported.

Police learned of Kathleen's online activity and how she had joined OnlyFans and become rather popular on the platform, playing up her resemblance to Marilyn Monroe. Jeff had even helped her pose for some pictures she posted online.

"We were concerned that, you know, do we have somebody else out there that's actually killing people?” Mehlhoff said.

Police, however, soon began to notice something off about Jeff, according to the “48 Hours” episode.

Mehlhoff said Jeff had been “strangely unemotional at the scene.” Jeff also told authorities he didn’t know what happened but that it could have been an accident. Forensics at the scene eventually pointed to Jeff and he was arrested on Feb. 22, 2018. In 2021, Jeff was sentenced to 16 years behind bars for manslaughter.

According to a statement from the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, Jeff hit Kathleen on the head with a liquor bottle and then left her body in the street. Police believe the couple got into an argument about Kathleen’s social media use and Jeff threw the phone outside, cracking the screen. Authorities believe that when Kathleen went to retrieve it, Jeff hit her with the liquor bottle, killing her.

Jeff maintained his innocence, saying that his wife fell during after drinking heavily. Her blood alcohol level had been three times the legal limit, according to reports.

Before his conviction, Jeff spent three years behind bars, and many weren’t sure authorities had done enough to rule out other killers. Close friends had wondered if someone online killed her, but it seems that wasn’t the case.

A full look at the case will air on "48 Hours" at 10 p.m./9 p.m. CT on Saturday, April 10.