Man pleads guilty in girlfriend's beating death in Topeka

July 23, 2019 - 6:18 pm

A man who was angry about his girlfriend's methamphetamine use has pleaded guilty to beating her to death in a Topeka apartment.

Luke Anthony Wabaunsee, 35, pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree murder in the October 2018 killing of Michelle Stadler, 42. He initially was charged with premeditated first-degree murder.

A detective testified at the preliminary hearing that Wabaunsee's DNA was found on the handle of a bloody glass mug recovered from Stadler's apartment.

Her neighbor, Shawn Cunningham, testified that Wabaunsee wanted her to quit using meth. Another neighbor, Marcia Paden, said she heard a man's voice say he "wasn't going to take it anymore."

He sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 3. He faces 12 to 54 years in prison.

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