A Maryland woman has been sentenced to 60 years in prison for the 2015 murder of her husband and shared lover amidst an alleged love triangle went awry and years of spousal abuse, according to multiple news reports.
Ann Marie Anastasi was arrested and charged with first-degree murder after allegedly having her husband and his live-in lover killed in October 2015, according to ABC News.
She entered an Alford plea in December, acknowledging prosecutors had sufficient evidence to convict her but maintaining her innocence, the Capital Gazette reports.
On Oct. 5, 2015, Anastasi’s husband, 40-year-old Anthony Anastasi, was found fatally shot in the head in the couple’s bedroom in their Lothian, Maryland, home, according to ABC News.
His lover, 25-year-old Jacqueline Riggs, was found stabbed to death in the home’s basement, where she had been living.
Ann, 44, made a frantic 911 call and at first allegedly claimed her husband had shot himself, according to the Gazette, but she later said the two were killed in a murder-suicide.
Ballistic evidence revealed the gun found near Anthony was not used to kill him and there was gun residue on Ann’s body and clothes, ABC News reports, citing a police report.
Investigators said Ann and her husband were both in a sexual relationship with Riggs, according to the Gazette. But the relationship became complicated when Riggs moved into the couple’s home in the summer of 2015.
Anthony and Riggs continued their relationship without Ann, prosecutors said, with him leaving the bedroom he shared with his wife at night to have sex with her in her basement room.
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Authorities reportedly said that through a series of text messages, Ann convinced her then-13-year-old daughter’s then-18-year-old boyfriend, Gabriel Struss, to carry out the killings on Oct. 4, 2015.
Struss pleaded guilty last year to the couple’s murders and is serving a 60-year-sentence, according to the Gazette; the daughter was charged as a juvenile and the outcome of her case was unclear.
Despite Struss’ admission, CBS News reports, prosecutors said Ann was the mastermind behind the “heinous and vicious” killings.
Anthony was shot in the head while Riggs suffered 42 knife wounds, 20 stab wounds and 22 cuts, the Associated Press and CBS News report.
Ann’s attorney — who could not be reached on Thursday for comment — had argued that she was subjected to two decades of abuse, including beatings and threats of harming her children, the Gazette reports.
She was sentenced to life in prison on two counts of first-degree murder, according to these reports, though all but 40 years were suspended for Anthony’s murder and all but 60 years were suspended in the death of Riggs. The sentences are concurrent.
“Ann Anastasi destroyed multiple lives by coldly planning these murders and manipulating children into executing her vicious plan,” Anne Arundel County, Maryland, State’s Attorney Wes Adams said Tuesday, CBS News reports.
“Were it not for Mrs. Anastasi at the helm of this scheme, the victims would still be alive today.”