A Minnesota totem pole carver pleaded guilty to unintentional second-degree murder in the 2010 death of his wife of 24 years yesterday, in a case that's more than a little odd. Carl Muggli entered the plea just five days before he was scheduled face a charge of premeditated first-degree murder at trial. Linda was crushed by a 17-foot tall 700-pound pole in their garage in what he described as an accident. But police couldn't re-create the event as Muggli described it (he claimed the pole came out of the cradle that was holding it while it was being carved), reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
And police received a tip that Facebook messages written both before and after Linda's death indicated Muggli was romancing a woman in Alabama. In court yesterday, he testified that he and Linda got in a fight over the Internet affair, and that he raised a five-foot logging tool above his head in a threatening way. That caused Linda to back away from him, knocking into the pole that then fell on her, reports the Duluth News Tribune. He also admitted making no attempt to help her. Muggli's lawyer says his client pleaded as he did because "he did not want to put the family, his family or himself through any more misery." He faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced on Feb. 4. His website still features the ever-more morbid line: "Linda Muggli 1949-2010—she passed while doing what she loved." (Read more totem pole stories.)