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News roundup: Kirkup says wife's death was in self-defense

By Philip Anselmo

Robert Kirkup pled guilty to manslaughter in Genesee County Court Monday, according to the Daily News. The 68-year-old California man was brought to New York on an arrest in June when he was charged with the murder of his wife, Janet, in the town of Darien during a camping trip 16 years ago.

Scott DeSmit reports that Kirkup faces between five and 15 years in state prison. He will be sentenced in September. DeSmit was in the courtroom when Kirkup was brought before Judge Robert C. Noonan, and he does a great job of bringing out the details of that public confession.

DeSmit writes that Kirkup "was barely able to stand" in the courtroom when he admitted his guilt.

His wife, he said, had been drinking beer all day and at one point in the evening "came inside the motor home and started yelling and punching me."

"I was unfaithful to Janet back in the '80s and whenever she drank alcohol, she would start fighting with me and bring that up," Kirkup wrote. "Janet came after me, punching me in the face. She broke my glasses."

"I then grabbed Janet by the throat with my right hand. We both struggled a bit and she ended up on the floor ... I held on to Janet by the throat until she stopped struggling with me."

Kirkup told the judge that he then covered up the body and slept on the couch.

"I grabbed Janet under the arms and dragged her out of the motor home ... I dragged her about 100 yards into the woods. I dug a hole about two to three feet deep ... I put Janet in the hole face up then covered her body with dirt and left."

He admitted that he was afraid he would go to jail if he told the truth about what happened and that "no one would believe that I killed her in self defense."

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