In a murder his accusers say was fueled by infidelity and deceit, a northern Minnesota artist admitted in court on Wednesday that he fatally crushed his wife with a 17-foot-tall totem pole they were carving. Carl Muggli, 51, pleaded guilty in Koochiching County District Court to killing 61-year-old Linda Muggli in November 2010 at the couple's home south of International Falls.
The husband had tried to convince authorities that the 700-pound pole accidentally fell out of a cradle and onto his wife of 24 years but authorities said they could not reconstruct the incident the way he said it happened. It was alleged they were fighting about a divorce, and that he was having a romantic relationship with a woman from Alabama..
The couple's business website, which is still active, has read since Linda Muggli's death, "She passed while doing what she loved." Muggli is pleading guilty to second-degree unintentional murder. He had been charged with first-degree premeditated murder and second-degree intentional murder. His trial was to begin on Monday and be held in Bemidji because of pretrial publicity in and around International Falls.
"This whole thing is a tragic occurrence," said defence attorney Charles Hawkins, who explained that his client chose to plead guilty because "he did not want to put the family, his family or himself through any more misery." Carl Muggli remains in the county jail ahead of sentencing on Feb. 4. Hawkins said his client is facing a sentence of 12 1/2 to 15 years in prison, with the possibility of supervised release for the last third of that time.