Atwell pleads guilty to murder, abduction - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Atwell pleads guilty to murder, abduction

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PRINCETON (WVVA) - A Mercer County man has pleaded guilty to murdering his wife and kidnapping their daughter.

Tracy Lee Atwell, 39, pleaded guilty in Mercer County Court Thursday afternoon to charges of first-degree murder and abduction of a child by a family member stemming from the events of April 2012 that led police on a two-day manhunt for Atwell and his young daughter.

On April 12, 2012, Atwell's wife Christina was found choked to death inside her home in the Rock area of Mercer County.

After murdering his wife, Atwell drove to his parents' home in Camp Creek, told them what happened, abducted his 8-year-old daughter by gunpoint and fled in his parents' vehicle.

Police found Atwell and his daughter on April 14 in the truck in a remote area near Spanishburg.

View WVVA.com's previous reports on the Atwell case

Previous robbery charges were dropped as part of the plea deal.

Atwell is scheduled to be back in court on June 10. If his plea deal is accepted by the court, sentencing would follow.

Atwell would be eligible for parole in 15 years under the plea.

WVVA's Josh Frketic is in the courtroom and will be live from Princeton with more on this developing story.

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