Accused killer admits to strangling wife; pleads guilty
ST. CHARLES, MO (KTVI) – In a St. Charles County court, a man’s family, in-laws and children watched as he plead guilty to 1st-degree murder for killing his wife in 2012. He will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Wednesday morning, about twenty people gathered in the Division 5 courtroom. A few sat on one side of the galley. Many more sat on the other side. But, some crossed the aisle to give each other hugs and smiles. Some complimented a young girl on how much she had grown.
“You’ve gotten so big,” the woman said before the child returned to her seat across the room.
Then, sheriff’s deputies brought 43-year-old Michael Rone to the defendant’s seat. He was wearing a bright-orange sweatshirt and sweatpants. He had shackles around his wrists and ankles.
The room fell silent.
Judge Jon Cunningham questioned Rone extensively about his desire to plea guilty to the single charge. Then, Cunningham asked Rone to give details about the night that changed the lives of dozens.
The young girl and a teenager left the courtroom, along with some adults.
Rone admitted to strangling his 38-year-old wife, Stacey, in the bedroom of their O’Fallon, Missouri home around 2 a.m. on April 12, 2012. He said the couple had a brief argument. He also told the judge that he knew she was dead when he left the house. Police arrested him, when he returned later that evening.
When he was done, the girls came back into the galley. They were the couple’s daughters.
Cassie Kobert rose from her seat with others from Stacey’s family. She walked past the seats across the aisle, where members of Michael’s family sat. She stared at her brother-in-law as she walked to the center of the room. Kobert, Stacey’s sister, gave her victim-impact statement to the judge.
“He took not only my sister, but a mother and aunt,” she went on. “He left two daughters behind who needed her.”
Then it was time for Lisa Stacy to have her say. She is Stacey’s big sister.
“The only thing he did right with his wife,” she said. “He gave us the girls.”
After Judge Cunningham handed down the sentence – life in prison with no possibility of parole – it was his turn. He spoke directly to Michael Rone.
“You committed a horrible crime that has had a horrible effect on so many people,” Michael’s younger daughter stared at her father, with tears running down her face, and a grown-up holding her hand.
The court was dismissed. Michael was taken away. Stacy and Michael’s family hugged and cried in the hallway.
“They’re trying to stay strong,” Kobert said of her nieces. “However, they’re hurt. That’s their mom and, unfortunately, that’s their dad also. So, they’re torn.”
“I found her that evening,” Stacy said of finding her little sister’s body before calling for help. “And there’s an image in my mind of what my sister looked like. I try to block that out, but it’s very hard to do.”
Previous story: O’Fallon Man Charged in Wife’s Murder
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