HONESDALE — A husband accused of killing his wife three years ago in Wayne County now admits to the crime.
He pleaded guilty thursday morning but to a lesser degree of homicide
Robert Jufer pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence for the killing of his wife June three years ago.
Voluntary manslaughter is a lesser crime than first or third degree murder. It usually means a killing that happens in the heat of passion, with provocation from the victim.
When police arrested Robert Jufer earlier this year, they said he had conflicting stories about the death of his wife June.
Now there’s a big change in his story after all his denials back then.
Jufer now admits to killing June inside their home south of Honesdale. Originally he told police an intruder attacked him and shot June in October of 2010.
It took more than two years for investigators to say he was the one who shot her in her sleep.
Now, three years after June’s death, Jufer says he did kill her, pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter.
The murder happened in a rural spot, but there was one neighbor who was really close with the Jufers. She is stunned Robert admitted to the crime.
Arlene Leonhardt was planning to go to Robert Jufer’s homicide trial that was scheduled to start next week. She said she was happy when the Jufers were moving to the house next door.
“I’m shocked, absolutely shocked,” Leonhardt said. “Very nice people, and I worked in the hospital in the other shop, they came in hugs and kisses, ‘how are you?’ ‘Don’t forget Bob is here if you need him.’”
She’s been following the case since her granddaughter heard shots come from the house the morning of the killing.
Her shock at Robert Jufer’s guilty plea is the same as her surprise that day three years ago.
“Definitely I was surprised because I thought they were a very congenial couple and I remember they said ‘next time, you come up were going to have dinner together,’” Leonhardt recalled. “That never happened.”
The district attorney said she is waiting until after sentencing in January to comment on why the guilty plea was for the lesser voluntary manslaughter instead of murder.
Voluntary manslaughter could get him up to 20 years in prison.