ATTICA, N.Y. (WIVB) — After a judge ruled Charlene Mess, an Attica woman accused of killing her husband, as competent to stand trial, she’s pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors.
Originally charged with second-degree murder, first-degree criminal use of a firearm, first-degree assault, second-degree assault and tampering with physical evidence, Mess pleaded guilty on Thursday to first-degree manslaughter.
The plea deal finds Mess guilty of ending the life of her husband Doug Mess, shooting him in the back of the head, along with stabbing him with a pitchfork, before finally burying him in a pile of manure.
Soon after a grand jury indicted Mrs. Mess for ending the life of her husband, her defense attempted to defend her on grounds of being mentally incapable of standing trial. After three doctors testified to her condition, with one expert describing her demeanor as inconsistent with someone incapable of standing trial, a judge ruled she would stand trial.
“We have been convinced for months that the defendant was faking or maligning her so-called incompetency as a delay tactic to avoid taking responsibility,” Wyoming County District Attorney Donald O’Geen said.
It didn’t take long for the plea deal to be reached after forging forward with a criminal trial. As part of the plea, the 49-year-old woman agreed to a determinate sentence of between 18 to 25 years in prison, with between two and a half years years of post-release supervision.
The determinate sentence means she will serve at least six sevenths, or about 85 percent of, her sentence in prison. A judge at sentencing will choose her final sentence, anywhere between 18 and 25 years.
“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 amount of time is the most appropriate sentence for her actions in this case,” O’Geen said.
Members of Mr. Mess’ family were present during Mrs. Mess’ admission of guilt on Thursday.