A District man Tuesday pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in connection with the September stabbing of his estranged wife behind a Northeast Washington recreation center.
Under terms of the plea agreement, Claude Kinney, 48, faces a mandatory minimumof 30 years in prison with no possibility of early release.
Prosecutors say Kinney killed his wife, Alecia Wheeler, 42, a day after Wheeler sought a temporary restraining order against him.
On Sept. 13, several hours before Wheeler’s slaying, prosecutors say Kinney called for police assistance to obtain items from the Northeast Washington home he shared with Wheeler. After police left, Kinney remained in the area.
Later that afternoon, prosecutors say, Kinney pulled his red Dodge pickup truck beside Wheeler and the three children — aged 1, 3, and 5 — they shared, as well her nine-year-old daughter from another relationship, in an alley behind the Joseph H. Cole Recreation Center in the 1200 block of Neal Street NE.
Kinney then got out of the truck holding a knife, stabbing Wheeler numerous times in the head, neck, chest and back in front of the children, prosecutors say. Wheeler’s daughter fled, screaming “My mommy is getting stabbed.”
As bystanders responded to Wheeler’s screams, prosecutors say, Kinney threw Wheeler to the ground, got back into his truck and sped off. Police recovered three broken knives in the area. Kinney was arrested minutes later.
Kinney is scheduled to be sentenced by D.C. Superior Court Judge Gerald I. Fisher on Jan. 13.
Citing domestic abuse, Wheeler had filed at least two court complaints against Kinney before she was killed. Court records also showed that Kinney had been arrested at least 17 times in the District since the mid-1980s, mainly on charges involving drug dealing and assault, sometimes with weapons. The only case that stuck was a misdemeanor drug possession charge in 1985, to which he pleaded guilty, records show.