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2nd Suspect Pleads Guilty To Murdering Missouri Woman Who Took Her Into Home
This is the second guilty plea in the murder of a peer support counselor who was reportedly trying to help her killers stay warm.
A second suspect pleaded guilty last week to a February assault on a Missouri woman that ultimately resulted in her death.
Elizabeth Emily Dye, 26, pleaded guilty on Friday to second-degree murder in the death of Maya Leah Nicole Wootton, 33, in February, according to ABC affiliate KMIZ in Columbia. Dye was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Lucas Harper, 35, pleaded guilty in August to one felony charge of tampering with evidence in the investigation surrounding Wootton's death. He is due to be sentenced in October, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune.
Dye and Harper were first arrested and charged with first-degree assault, armed criminal action, and first-degree robbery after Wootton was discovered shot on Feb. 15. Wootton died of her injuries on Feb. 18, at which point Dye was charged with first-degree murder, according to the Associated Press.
Police say that Dye was living out of her car at the time of the murder, according to KMIZ; Wootton's obituary in the Columbia Missourian said that she had invited Dye and Harper into her home to warm up on one of the coldest days of the year. It was at that point that she was shot by Dye.
Probable cause documents from Dye's arrest state that Wootton's boyfriend, who was not identified by authorities, left her house around 10:30 p.m. on Feb. 14; it is not clear if Dye and Harper were there at the time. When he returned around 1 a.m. on Feb. 15, Wootton had been shot.
Dye admitted to shooting Wootton after she had gone into the basement to do laundry, according to Wootton's boyfriend. Dye and Harper reportedly began to discuss in front of him how to conceal the body, which was eventually hidden under a pile of laundry. Harper claimed that Dye then went through Wootton's pockets in search of valuables, and the two also discussed building a wooden frame around Wootton then encasing her in concrete.
Wootton was still alive as this all unfolded.
A press release from the Columbia Police says they responded to a request for a wellness check at the residence at around 7:15 a.m. on Feb. 15, at which point they discovered Wootton wounded in her home. She was transported to a hospital for treatment. It is unclear who placed the call.
Dye and Harper were arrested and charged that same day. Wootton's boyfriend was not implicated in the assault or the attempt to hide the body.
Wootton's mother wrote in a Facebook post that Wootton died at 3:27 a.m. on Feb. 18, according to the Columbia Missourian.