A northern Minnesota man accused of killing his wife with a totem pole pleaded guilty Wednesday to second-degree murder.
Carl Chester Muggli, 51, had been charged with first- and second-degree murder in the November 2010 death of his wife, Linda Muggli, 61, at their home in the town of Ray, about 20 miles south of International Falls.
The Mugglis were well-known totem pole carvers, with clients including Six Flags Theme Parks and Warner Bros. Television.
Prosecutors said Linda Muggli died after a 17-foot-tall, 700-pound totem pole they were carving fell onto her from its cradle. Carl Muggli told investigators it was an accident, but authorities said they could not reconstruct the incident the way he said it happened. The complaint alleged the Mugglis were fighting about getting divorced, and that he was having a romantic relationship with a woman from Alabama, at least partly through Facebook. Investigators learned about the affair from a tipster.
His trial had been set to begin Monday in Bemidji. It had been moved there because of pretrial publicity in the International Falls area.
Sentencing is set for Feb. 4. He remains in the Koochiching County Jail.