Trevor Lee Sanford, 30, pleaded guilty Tuesday in District Court to first degree murder for the killing of Marilyn “Kay” Dlugosh, 75, earlier this year.
Prosecuting attorney Kurt Britzius said the plea deal he and defense attorney Randolph Hiller discussed meant the state would recommend dismissing the alternative charge of murder in the first degree, and would recommend life in prison and not the death penalty. Alternative charges are different ways for the prosecution to charge an individual of a crime, he said.
“In exchange for pleading guilty to first degree murder, the state would recommend dismissing the alternate charge,” Britzius said.
Under Wyoming state statute, a homicide is classified as first degree murder when someone premeditated and purposefully carried out the attack. The punishment is either life in prison, with or without parole, or death, according to state statute.
Court documents state Albany County Sheriff’s Office deputies received a call March 29 of a possible deceased individual in a residence on Skyline Drive. When deputies arrived at the scene, they found the body of Dlugosh face down by the front door of the residence, court documents state.
Deputies and the state crime lab processed the scene and found a large amount of dried blood from injuries to the back of her head from blunt force trauma. Law enforcement officials found a hammer and a knife in a pool of blood near the victim, which were later identified as potential murder weapons, court documents state.
While deputies were searching the residence, one of them noticed the two landline phones in the dwelling were disconnected. The phones did not have any visible blood on the phones or their cords, indicating they were unplugged before the homicide took place, documents state.
A relative of the victim told the deputies he was unable to reach Sanford on the phone but Sanford lived at the residence with Dlugosh for a few days before the alleged homicide took place. Sanford and several of Dlugosh’s possessions — including her car, cellphone and bank cards — were missing, court documents state.
The sheriff’s office requested a ping on Dlugosh’s phone and checked for activity on her bank cards and found both were being used in the cities of Thornton, Colorado, and Westminster, Colorado. Sanford was also allegedly in possession of the victim’s vehicle, court documents state.