Alaska man sentenced to 8 decades for killing wife with splitting maul and burning her remains
02/08/2023 11:54 am PST
PALMER, Alaska (TCD) -- A 63-year-old man was recently sentenced to 80 years in prison for killing his wife with a splitting maul before burning her remains and other evidence.
In 2018, Michael James Kilgo attacked and hit Hattie Labuff-Kilgo in the head with a splitting maul, a tool with an ax on one side and a sledgehammer on the other often used for cutting wood.
Labuff-Kilgo’s family reported her missing, so Alaska State Troopers conducted a welfare check and learned she had traveled to Petersville from her Willow home, KTUU-TV reports.
On Aug. 18, 2018, Alaska State Police Troopers reportedly found Labuff-Kilgo’s severely burned remains in a fire pit off a road near Petersville, and her car was located approximately 5 miles away.
The Alaska Department of Law said the victim was "nearly unrecognizable."
Leading to the fire pit, authorities reportedly noticed "two pools of red stains consistent with blood." They also found a "hatchet, a splitting maul, and a fixed blade knife, similar to a ‘survival knife’" burned inside the fire pit.
An autopsy report later revealed that Labuff-Kilgo died of blunt force trauma, according to KTUU.
During the five-week trial, Kilgo reportedly said he killed his wife in self-defense and "the heat of passion."
However, prosecutors argued, "People acting in self-defense do not burn bodies," and that "a person does not strike another person multiple times with a splitting maul unless they intended to kill."
Before his recent sentencing, Kilgo was found guilty of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder, and tampering with evidence in October 2022.
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