A 29-year-old Virginia woman faces up to 40 years in prison after pleading no contest to fatally beating her 77-year-old boyfriend with his own cane. Hit the jump to read the rest of the story.
Kristina Pongracz today entered her plea to second-degree murder in Bedford County Circuit Court.
Investigators say Pongracz beat William Herchenrider with his walking stick at their mansion in May last year. He survived the initial beating but died months later.
Police say Pongracz beat Mr Herchenrider because he wanted to kick her out of his home.
Pongracz’s plea, where the defendant neither admits nor disputes a charge, came on the day she was due to stand trial.
While not technically a guilty plea, it has the same immediate effect as a guilty plea, and is often offered as a part of a plea bargain. Judge James Updike ordered a presentencing report.
The charge carries a five- to 40-year prison term and a fine of up to $100,000.
Pongracz, who remains in custody, is alleged to have attacked Mr Herchenrider at his home in Goode, Virginia, on May 4, 2010.
The couple had reportedly been together for a decade, but authorities said Mr Herchenrider wanted to end the relationship with Pongracz and remove her from the 3,730-square-foot home covering 19 acres.
Pongracz was arrested the following day after Mr Herchenrider was found at his home with serious injuries from the beating.
According to the county sheriff’s deputy Chris Brown, who responded to reports of a disturbance at the man’s home, he found Pongracz passed out in her underwear with ‘a large amount of blood smeared all over her body.’
Mr Herchenrider was conscious, he added, but badly injured and bleeding. The 77-year-old subsequently spent weeks in hospital, but eventually died at his home on August 25 in the care of hospice nurses.
The medical report into his death, which was released in December, showed that he died as a result of complications from his injuries.