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McGhee Expected to Plead Guilty in Wife's Murder

by on December 20, 2017 1:00 PM

A Bellefonte man accused of killing his wife and attempting to burn down their house while their daughter was still inside is due in court on Thursday to plead guilty, according to the Centre County District Attorney's office.

Charles McGhee, 37, is charged with murder, arson and other crimes in connection with the death of his wife, Courtney McGhee, 41, on the night of June 5

Prosecutors said he was angry that his wife had told him earlier in the day that she wanted a divorce. McGhee allegedly struck her in the head with a blunt object and the county coroner's office determined Courtney McGhee's cause of death to be blunt force trauma to the head. A medical examiner said her injuries were consistent with a broken game controller found at the scene

Three small fires were set in the basement, according to investigators, posing a risk to their daughter who had been asleep upstairs. The daughter was awoken by smoke alarms and fled to a neighbor's house. Fire departments were dispatched to the scene and discovered Courtney McGhee.

Charles McGhee was taken into custody after crashing his vehicle on Interstate 80. At a preliminary hearing in July, prosecutors introduced numerous pieces of evidence, including photos that allegedly showed burns on his body and blood on his fingers. They also presented text messages Courtney McGhee sent to a friend that reportedly said Charles McGhee had been cheating on her and refused to sign divorce papers.

McGhee was charged with first and third degree murder, aggravated assault, three counts of aggravated arson, endangering the welfare of a child, flight to avoid apprehension, possession of an instrument of crime, recklessly endangering another person and tampering with evidence. He also was charged with two counts of animal cruelty because two cats were killed by the fire.  

He will be sentenced immediately by Judge Katherine Oliver, according to the district attorney's office.

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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