Florida Man to Be Sentenced to 38 Years in Prison in Murder of His Wife He Said Was Hospitalized With COVID-19

David Anthony and Gretchen Anthony; David Anthony

David Anthony, 44, confessed to the heinous crime eariler this month and pleaded guilty and told cops where he dumped the body of his soon-to-be ex-wife, 51-year-old Gretchen Anthony, in exchange for a plea deal with prosecutors,the Palm Beach Post report

The Florida man who admitted to killing his estranged wife who he claimed to loved ones concerned about her whereabouts that she was in the hospital with an "acute" case of COVID-19 is expected to be sentenced to more than three decades behind bars for the killing, according to a report. 

David Anthony, 44, pleaded guilty last week to second-degree murder and kidnapping in the killing of his estranged wife, 51-year-old Gretchen Anthony, whose murder he attempted to cover by texting his victim's loved ones that she was battling the coronavirus, officials said. Anthony's plea was entered before Circuit Judge Jeffrey Gillen, the Palm Beach Post reported.

Anthony told police where he disposed of his wife's body in exchange for the plea deal that saw his charges lessened. He was originally charged with first-degree murder, the Post reported. If Anthony had not told officials where her body was located, the plea deal would have been voided and the case with the original charge would have proceeded in the courts, the Post wrote. 

According to Florida penal code, if convicted of first-degree murder, a capital felony, Anthony could have been eligible for the death penalty, rather than up to life in prison for a second-degree murder conviction, the Post reported.  

Anthony will be sentenced to 38 years in prison on January 14, 2021 under the plea deal, the Post reported.

Gretchen’s remains were found three miles from her Abacao home, near Bush Road and Indiantown Road, Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr said during a news conference. She had been stabbed in her neck and torso, Paul Petrino, manager of medical examiner operations at Palm Beach County, told Inside Edition Digital. 

Gretchen was reportedly last seen at her home on March 20. On March 21, she had planned to meet her friend for lunch, but never showed up. On March 23, she never reported to work and on March 24, several of her friends and relatives received text messages from Gretchen's phone that seemed strange. The texts said that she had checked herself into Jupiter Medical Center in Florida where she was recovering from an "acute" case of COVID-19. Additional text messages sent from Gretchen's phone said that she would be transferring to a CDC-approved task force where she would be quarantined for 14 days, according to an arrest report obtained by WPTV, People reported.  

Friends and family became suspicious since the text messages sent did not sound like her; and described them as "unusually worded," the magazine reported. 

Gretchen and her husband married in March 2015 in Nevada and had filed for divorce on Feb. 28, according to court documents obtained by the Post. Less than a month after the filing, Gretchen disappeared. 

Gretchen had confided to friends that she was afraid of her husband, David Anthony, according to multiple reports. On March 26, concerned family members reported her missing, People reported.

When investigators obtained a search warrant of Gretchen’s home, a cadaver dog picked up the scent of decomposition. Blood spatter on the walls in the master bedroom were found, large bleach stains were found in the garage and blood-soaked towels were found in the washing machine. Gretchen’s husband had become the prime suspect, People reported. 

The affidavit obtained by CBS12 indicated that a neighbor told investigators on March 21 that she heard a “blood-curdling scream,” and then she heard a woman pleading “No! No, it hurts!,” the New York Post reported. 

At 6:15 a.m. a surveillance video showed Anthony, who is 6 feet, 7 inches, in the home’s screened-in porch and Gretchen stepping out. The scene then is followed by muffled shouting and someone saying, “What are you doing," according to the arrest report obtained by the Post. 

The video footage also reportedly showed the head of someone with light hair who was not moving, a water jug with traces of blood on it, and Anthony pulling the camera down with a gloved, according to police. The following day, neighbors said there was a strong chemical scent coming from the home, the Post reported.

On March 23, Anthony was captured on video parking his truck at Jupiter Medical Center. The next day, he had parked Gretchen’s vehicle, a Mini Cooper, in the hospital parking lot, as well. Blood had been found on the steering wheel and the gearshift of the vehicle, the Post reported.  

On March 31, 10 days after the alleged murder of his wife, authorities located Anthony in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He was arrested while he was walking his dog. His car was also seized as evidence that had traces of blood and a foul odor, the New York Post reported.

On Dec. 21, prosecutors said the discovery of Gretchen’s remains gave family members, including Gretchen’s mother and 12-year-old daughter, some closure in the case, The New York Post reported.

“They wanted a proper memorial and burial,” State Attorney Dave Aronberg told reporters at a news conference. “[The plea] is something that provides closure, and it provides justice.”