A Greenbrier woman accused in the 2012 shooting death of her husband pleaded guilty to first-degree murder Tuesday morning in Faulkner County Circuit Court.
Amanda Leigh Ewing, 27, was sentenced to 55 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections for her role in the death of her husband, Billy Joe "B.J." Ewing, 27, who was shot March 20, 2012 at their shared home in Faulkner County.
Officials said that when confronted with evidence, Amanda confessed that she and her ex-husband, Clayton Monsees, 31, plotted to kill her husband.
Prosecutors initially charged Amanda and Monsees with capital murder.
Monsees pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of first-degree murder in January. He was also sentenced to 55 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
At his plea hearing, Monsees told the court he had been corresponding with Amanda via e-mail prior to his arrival at the residence. Monsees said he had been led to believe that she and her children were being abused by B.J.
He left his home in Wisconsin the day before the murder on a Greyhound bus, and caught a ride to Greenbrier to meet Amanda at the home she shared with B.J. and their three children.
Monsees told the court Amanda moved the children to a bedroom while he waited with a gun for B.J. to return home from work. Investigators said that gun was a .22 caliber rifle.
When B.J. entered the residence just before midnight, Monsees says he shot him, and after a brief struggle, stabbed him in the shoulder. Monsees admitted he fled the residence following the incident and hid from authorities. He said he learned of B.J.’s death upon apprehension the following day.
B.J. was able to make it across the yard to his mother’s home, and gave a statement to his mother implicating his attacker.
He also told told investigators at the scene that Monsees shot him, that his wife was “crazy” and that he believed he had been “set up.”
He was transported by ambulance to Conway Regional Medical Center, where he later succumbed to his injuries.
Both Amanda and Monsees were sentenced to 40 years for the first-degree murder charge, another 10 years for committing the offense in the presence of minors and five years for using a firearm.
All terms will run consecutively.
B.J. Ewing was an employee of the Log Cabin Democrat. He worked in the production departments.