BANGOR, Maine – The Lagrange man charged last year with murdering his naked wife while she was hiding under the couple’s bed during a party pleaded guilty to manslaughter Wednesday morning in Penobscot County Superior Court.
Jeremy Hart, 35, is not expected to be sentenced until next month. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson will recommend Hart serve 15 years in prison.
Defense attorney Stephen Smith of Bangor is expected to argue for a lesser sentence.
Hart will serve at least four years. That is the mandatory minimum prison term for a manslaughter conviction that involves a gun.
The murder charge is expected to be dismissed after Hart is sentenced.
Kristen Smart Hart, 25, died of an apparent gunshot wound to the head on Nov. 29. In an interview with police, her husband admitted that he picked up
his rifle that was in the couple’s darkened bedroom after he found a man sitting on his bed during the party.
Detectives arrested Hart after they traced the trajectory of five bullets in the couple’s bedroom. The angles converged in the area toward the foot of
the bed where Hart believed his wife to be, according to court documents.
Smith said Wednesday that Kristen Hart popped her head out from under the bed just after her husband pulled the trigger the last time.
Half a dozen female relatives and friends of the victim attended the 45-minute hearing.
Kristen Hart’s younger sister, Vanessa Smart, 25, of Lagrange, said outside the courtroom that the family was not happy that Jeremy Hart had been allowed to plead to the lesser charge.
“I believe it was murder and completely intentional,” she said. “He planned it.”
Smart also said that 15 years in prison was too short a sentence.
“He should serve more time,” she said.
Hart remains free on $100,000 cash bail posted in June. His bail conditions were amended Wednesday to prohibit him from using illegal drugs or alcohol and subjects him to random searches and testing to see if he is in compliance.