Pelton pleads guilty to attempted murder
Tyler Pelton of Dickinson was scheduled to have a jury trial Wednesday, but instead pleaded guilty to attempted murder, attorneys said.
"He said he wanted to do it because he didn't want to put his wife and kids through the trial," Pelton's attorney Kevin McCabe said.
The 29-year-old is accused of running over his wife in December, which caused her to have part of her diaphragm and colon removed, according to his criminal complaint.
Pelton accepted a plea offer which, if a judge accepts it, would sentence him to 20 years in prison with eight years suspended, McCabe said.
"He pled (guilty) to aggravated assault about a month ago," McCabe said. "This sentence would include the aggravated assault sentence, so he's going to get 12 years to all of it."
Judge Zane Anderson ordered a presentence investigation and McCabe said a sentencing hearing to be held within 60 days.
At a March hearing, Dickinson Police Investigator Kylan Klauzer said Pelton and his wife had been arguing and were talking to each other on the phone while she was walking near downtown Dickinson.
Klauzer testified Pelton "said something along the lines of 'I'm going to show you what it's like to lie there and die alone,'" just before running over his wife.
Pelton is accused of putting her facedown in the back of his pickup and taking her home. His wife allegedly begged him to take her to the hospital, which he eventually did.
However, Pelton allegedly made his wife promise not to tell anybody what happened.
He admitted he ran his wife over after pleading guilty to aggravated assault in June.
Stark County State's Attorney Tom Henning said Wednesday Pelton has elaborated since then.
"He said he saw his wife and he hit the accelerator and then he said it got slippery and he couldn't control it," Henning said.
Henning had previously offered Pelton a plea agreement for 20 years with five years suspended, he said.
"He wouldn't do that," Henning said, adding he then offered the existing proposal. "It's more than half of the maximum permissible penalty for it."
As part of the plea agreement, two other related charges Pelton faces -- violation of a protection order and driving under suspension -- would be dismissed.
"He's going to jail for a long time," Henning said. "He'll be off the street."
Henning said Wednesday was not the first time a defendant has changed their mind at the last minute.
"All I can say is it's not uncommon," he said.