WARSAW, N.Y. (AP) — The wife of a farmer whose body was found buried in manure was sentenced Thursday to 25 years in prison for his slaying.
Charlene Mess, of Attica, was sentenced in Wyoming County Court, where she pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the April 2015 death of Douglas Mess, her husband of 30 years.
Charlene Mess, 49, apparently had argued with her 52-year-old husband before hitting him several times with a pitchfork and shooting him in the head with a .22-caliber rifle inside a barn on the family dairy farm.
In court Thursday, District Attorney Donald O'Geen said Charlene Mess then tied her husband's hands and feet with bailing wire and used an electric feed cart to drag his body to another part of the barn, where she scooped it up with another piece of equipment and drove it to the manure pile. She had hoped the body would quickly decompose and never be found, the prosecutor said.
One of the victim's sons reported him missing, setting off a seven-hour search that ended when the body was found about 100 yards from the couple's home. Charlene Mess had appeared to join the search, saddling her horse and riding around the farm, O'Geen said.
"This sentence will not bring Doug back to his family but at least it will keep his killer away from society for a very long time," O'Geen said in a statement. "The family will now go forward remembering Doug as a hardworking, gentle and kind man who was always there for his family and community."