ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. (AP) — In a story Feb. 12 about a Vermont woman pleading guilty in the killing of a school teacher, The Associated Press reported erroneously the charge involved in her plea. Patricia Prue pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, not aggravated murder.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Woman admits to Vermont school teacher's choking death
Woman pleads guilty in Vermont teacher's death; husband says they wanted 'to get a girl'
ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. (AP) — Abandoning any claims to an insanity defense, a Vermont woman pleaded guilty Thursday to the 2012 strangulation of a prep school teacher who prosecutors say was lured to her death with a ruse about a broken down car.
At a mental competency hearing, a judge found Patricia Prue capable of rational decisions before she pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the death of St. Johnsbury Academy teacher Melissa Jenkins.
Prue admitted she strangled the 32-year-old Jenkins. She said she wanted to plead guilty so that she could resume written contact with her husband Allen Prue, who is serving a life sentence for a first-degree murder conviction in the case. As co-defendants, the two weren't allowed to communicate while the charges were pending.
At his sentencing last year, Allen Prue, who had a snowplow business and had plowed Jenkins' driveway, blamed his wife for the crime. Authorities say he told police he and his wife wanted "to get a girl."
Patricia Prue is to be sentenced Friday. She faces life in prison.
Prosecutors say the Prues planned the crime: Patricia Prue's computer had been used to conduct online searches for "how to kidnap a girl," the Prues got a stun gun and they bought a prepaid cellphone to call Jenkins to ask for help.
They say the Prues lured Jenkins from her home March 25, 2012, with the ruse about a broken down car, strangled and beat her and dumped her body in the Connecticut River. The single mother was reported missing after her vehicle was found that day idling on a rural road with her 2-year-old son inside. Her body was found in the river the next day.
Police were led to the Prues after a Jenkins' friend told them Jenkins said she was suspicious after the Prues called her about their vehicle. They also found a business card for Allen Prue at Jenkins' home.