Carl Muggli pleads guilty to killing his wife with a totem pole
Carl Muggli, pictured here with Linda during happier times, will be sentenced on February 4.
When Carl Muggli's wife was found dead in November 2010, Carl initially said her death was a tragic accident connected with their successful totem pole carving business. He said a 3,000-pound pole fell on her in their Koochiching County garage while his back was turned.
But investigators, unable to recreate the circumstances that could've possibly culminated in the gigantic piece of wood crashing down upon Linda Muggli's chest, didn't buy that story, and neither did a grand jury. This summer, Carl Muggli was charged with first-degree murder, and his trial was supposed to start next Monday. But instead of contesting the charges, Muggli this week agreed to plead guilty to a charge of second-degree murder.
Charles Hawkins, Muggli's defense attorney, said his client pleaded guilty because "he did not want to put the family, his family or himself through any more misery," according to a Star Tribune report. Carl Muggli, 51, now faces up to 15 years in prison.
As we told you about in a June 2011 blog post, Carl's apparent motive for killing his wife was a cyber affair he was carrying on with a woman in Alabama:
According to the criminal complaint, deputies dumped Muggli's computer and found love letters on Facebook as well as emails to various real estate agents in Texas.
"I well Marry you I just do not want problems," he wrote to the unnamed woman a month before Linda's death. "We can handle this all but we will do it right for all parties."
The day before Linda died, he wrote to a real estate agent in Texas inquiring about a two-bedroom rental.
"I am looking for a country home on 5 or more acres to rent or lease with option to buy. (my current situation--divorce--will not allow buying)," he wrote.
The same day, he wrote to his girlfriend, "Eveningstar-Bunny-MyWife . . . I want us together to live our lives as we seek."
Muggli and Linda, 61 at the time of her death, carved totems for Six Flags amusement parks, Grey's Anatomy sets, and for the Princess Diana memorial park in London.
After Linda's death, the Muggli's business website was updated with this still-live tribute to Carl's late wife:
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.