Sirens & Gavels

St. Maries woman admits killing uncle

A North Idaho woman who killed her uncle and burned his body has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Melisa R. Bates, 28, is to be sentenced May 18 for the murder of Robert D. Marek, 43, last May at his home eight miles south of St. Maries, where Bates had been staying.

Bates originally was charged with first-degree murder, but the charge was reduced as part of a plea deal approved Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

Bates shot Marek with a handgun before beating him with a metal rod, Benewah County Prosecutor Doug Payne said.

She underwent a psychological evaluation that declared her to fit to stand trial.

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