WENATCHEE — More than a year after she admitted murdering her elderly mother, Anita Burgess Jones of Cashmere entered a guilty plea and earned a sentence today of 12 years in prison.
Jones, 71, pleaded guilty in Chelan County Superior Court to second-degree murder in the January 2020 killing of Katherine Burgess Wiczai, 96. Investigators found Jones was suffering from severe mental health issues at the time of the killing.
Jones called the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office early Jan. 11, 2020 and told deputies she’d killed Wiczai in the Cashmere home the two women shared. Wiczai was found dead at the scene from bludgeoning, knife wounds and strangulation.
In court today, Jones read a written statement to Judge Travis Brandt before sentencing, saying she had no explanation for why she committed the crime. She said she was living with severe depression at the time of the murder.
“I wish I could remember what went through my mind that night,” she wrote. “It might explain why I killed my best friend and biggest fan. I know nothing I can do or say can compensate my family for this tragedy.
“… To say I’m sorry sounds trite and meaningless, but I am sorry.”
Jones, a longtime medical caregiver, has no prior felony convictions. She was initially charged with first-degree murder, which could have yielded at least 20 years in prison. Twelve years is near the low end of the 10- to 18-year standard range for a person convicted of second-degree murder with no past criminal history.