Dayton man pleads guilty in wife’s slaying

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DAYTON — A man has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder while armed with a firearm in the slaying of his wife at their Dayton home last spring.

Joseph Shuba, 59, admitted during a hearing Wednesday afternoon in Columbia County Superior Court that he intentionally killed Suzanne Shuba, to whom he had been married for about 30 years.

Second-degree murder is defined by state law as the intentional killing of a person without premeditation.

Shuba faces a standard-range prison term of 10 years and three months to 18 years and four months when he’s sentenced later.

He will serve an additional five years for the firearm enhancement.

Prosecuting Attorney Rea Culwell did not make a recommendation regarding the length of sentence.

In a plea agreement, Culwell reduced the charge from premeditated, first-degree murder while armed with a firearm, which carries a penalty of 20 to nearly 27 years, plus the five-year enhancement.

Officials said Shuba shot Suzanne Shuba twice in the head while in the couple’s residence at 1001 S. Third St. about 9 p.m. April 29.

They reportedly were involved in an argument, during which Joseph Shuba went into the bedroom of the small home, retrieved a .22-caliber handgun, returned to the dining area and killed Suzanne.

Wednesday’s guilty plea negates the need for a trial, which had been set to begin Jan. 28.

Joseph Shuba’s attorney, Dale Slack, recently told the Union-Bulletin his client — whose wife had subjected him to years of abuse — intended to claim self-defense.

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