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Alberta man accused of killing wife asks to plead out for lesser murder charge

Click to play video: 'Spruce Grove man pleads guilty to murder in death of his wife' Spruce Grove man pleads guilty to murder in death of his wife
WATCH ABOVE: A Spruce Grove man accused in the 2014 killing of his wife has pleaded guilty to murder. Fletcher Kent explains why the plea came as a surprise to the family of the victim – Nov 28, 2016

A Spruce Grove man has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in connection with the death of his wife in May 2014.

Christopher Nagel was charged with the first-degree murder of Rienna Nagel but asked to plead to second-degree murder during the first day of his trial Monday morning.

The Crown accepted the plea and the victim’s family said they were OK with it as they were seeking closure.

“We just wanted it to be resolved,” Rienna’s mother, Sheree Zielke, said. “We wanted a conclusion. If that means accepting a plea to a lesser charge, OK. Let’s do that.”

“We’re kind of glad that this isn’t going to go to a trial because there are things that we really don’t want (to be) public knowledge,” she added.

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“It still feels pretty surreal right now that we’re actually going to be able to say, ‘We’re done. We’re finished now.'”

Rienna, a mother of five, was found dead in her Spruce Grove home.

READ MORE: ‘She was a dedicated mom, dedicated wife’: mother of murdered Spruce Grove woman

On May 6, 2014, Christopher Nagel escaped custody at the University of Alberta Hospital after he was taken to the hospital by RCMP to get treatment for self-inflicted injuries.

Nagel reportedly asked a correctional peace officer for permission to go a washroom. His restraints were reportedly removed before he went into the bathroom, and when the officer checked in the washroom a few minutes later, Nagel was gone.

READ MORE: Correctional peace officers disciplined following murder suspect’s escape

The hospital was searched and the inmate was found about five hours later, hiding on another floor of the hospital. It was later determined that he had escaped through a side door in the washroom.

Rienna Nagel is remembered by her family and friends as a dedicated mother and wife, with a strong faith and many passions.

A second-degree murder conviction comes with a life sentence with no eligibility for parole for between 10 and 25 years. Nagel’s defence lawyers say they will ask for their client to be eligible for parole after 15 years while the Crown said it would request for a longer sentence.

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Nagel’s sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Thursday.

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