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Facing Fifth Trial In Wife’s Death, Doctor Enters No-Contest Plea

Sun., Nov. 16, 1997

After four trials, a microbiologist has pleaded no contest to charges that he killed his wife.

Dr. Charles Fisher, 57, was found guilty twice in the death of his wife, Ella, who was found wrapped with duct tape in their home. Fisher claimed an intruder had knocked him out and attacked his wife.

Both convictions were overturned. A third trial ended in a mistrial when jurors split in disagreement over second-degree murder or first-degree murder. Last month, a second mistrial was declared after 11 jurors voted to convict Fisher while one believed he was innocent. The four trials cost taxpayers about $1 million.

Prosecutors had been preparing to put Fisher on trial a fifth time.

But on Friday, he entered the no-contest plea, which means he avoids having to make any admissions about his wife’s death.

Under a plea agreement, Fisher faces an additional five years in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 11. He already has served much of the proposed 12-year, eight-month sentence while earlier convictions were under appeal.

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