Just a week before her open murder trial was set to begin, 32-year-old Linda Marquardt plead guilty to second-degree murder charges Monday. Marquardt told Judge William Collette how she shot her boyfriend, James Lee Wilkerson, last June. After a tip from one of Marquardt's friends, Lansing police found Wilkerson's body buried in Marquardt's backyard at 311 N. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
By pleading guilty to 2nd-degree murder, Marquardt faces 15-35 years in prison, but she avoids a possible first-degree murder conviction if she went to trial. Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings says the agreement was reached between prosecutors and the defense and both sides are satisfied with the agreement. He also said by avoiding a trial, prosecutors avoid having to call Marquardt's children to testify against her.
Marquardt's three children are living with relatives. Wilkerson was the father of her youngest son.
After her murder case is settled, Marquardt faces a federal indictment alleging that she embezzled $34,000 from the AARP when she was an office manager there.
Marquardt's sentencing on the 2nd degree murder plea is scheduled for Jan. 7.