Alaska man convicted of killing wife with splitting maul and burning her body
10/25/2022 12:21 pm PDT
PALMER, Alaska (TCD) -- A 63-year-old man was found guilty last week of killing his wife with a sharp object and burning her body and other evidence.
According to a statement from the Alaska Department of Law, a jury returned a guilty verdict of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder, and tampering with evidence in connection with Hattie Labuff-Kilgo’s 2018 death.
Michael James Kilgo reportedly attacked Labuff-Kilgo with a splitting maul and hit her in the head with it, causing "multiple blunt/sharp force injuries." A splitting maul is a type of instrument with an ax on one side of the head and a sledgehammer on the other, typically used for cutting wood.
Alaska State Police Troopers discovered Labuff-Kilgo’s body Aug. 28, 2018, after she was reported missing. Her remains were reportedly found in a fire pit in a remote area and had been "severely burned."
The Alaska Department of Law said she was "nearly unrecognizable," and her car was found about 5 miles away.
According to the press release, "There were two pools of red stains consistent with blood approximately 3 to 5 feet from the fire pit leading to it. Also burned inside the same fire pit were a hatchet, a splitting maul, and a fixed blade knife, similar to a 'survival knife.'"
Kilgo reportedly said during the trial he killed his wife in self-defense and "the heat of passion."
The prosecuting attorney reportedly "argued to the jury that people acting in self-defense do not burn bodies and a person does not strike another person multiple times with a splitting maul unless they intended to kill."
Kilgo faces up to 99 years in prison and will be sentenced in February.
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