Long Island man pleads guilty to murdering wife

May 20, 2010 2:14:21 PM PDT
The Long Island man charged with the murder of his wife after he faked her disappearance pleaded guilty Thursday. William Walsh admitted to strangling his wife, Leah, in their Bethpage apartment and dumping her body in a wooded area. In exchange for his guilty plea, he will be sentenced to 18 years to life in prison.

Walsh, 31, pleaded guilty to the entire indictment, including second-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence, and criminal possession of a weapon. He will be sentenced June 23.

Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in the early morning hours of October 26, 2008, Walsh choked his wife to death during an argument in their bedroom. He then covered her with black trash bags and spent the rest of the morning at the gym. At around 10 p.m. that evening, Walsh took his wife's body and put her in the passenger seat of her Ford Focus and drove to a wooded area off the Long Island Expressway, where he dumped her body. He then parked and abandoned her car on the side of the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway near the Plainview Road exit.

During the next few days, Walsh made public pleas for information on his wife's disappearance in the media. He also faked text messages from her cell phone to himself, including one telling him "have a great day." He was arrested on October 29 when Leah's body was discovered off the North Service Road to the LIE in North Hills.

"This was a horrible tragedy that took a promising young life and had a terrible impact on her family and community," Rice said. "I am extremely proud of the work of the Nassau County Police Department and members of my office. I only hope that this defendant's admission of guilt brings some semblance of closure to the victim's family."