A New York farm wife has admitted in court that she stabbed her husband with a pitchfork, shot him in the back of the head with a .22-caliber rifle and buried him in a manure pile.
Charlene Mess, 48, pleaded guilty Thursday to first-degree manslaughter in Wyoming County Court. She acknowledged killing Douglas Mess last April during an argument on the couple’s dairy farm in Attica, The Associated Press reported.
Judge Michael Mohun accepted her plea deal and committed to a sentencing range of 18 to 25 years in prison. Her original charge was second-degree murder, and she faced a maximum punishment of 25-years-to-life if convicted.
Authorities said she had given false statements to officers investigating her husband’s disappearance and had hidden his body in a pile of manure.
District Attorney Donald O’Geen said the victim’s family had been consulted about the plea agreement and agreed to its conditions.
“The Mess family and I are hopeful that the court will give her 25 years in prison, or at least something close to that, as we believe that that amount of time is the most appropriate sentence for her actions in this case,” the prosecutor said in a statement.
The couple’s son reported his father missing after he failed to show up at work. Charlene Mess helped in a seven-hour search of their rural property. Eventually someone notice that a manure pile at the back of the family farm had a newly shoveled section.
Douglass Mess’ body was found under three feet of dung.