Former Marine sergeant gets life without parole in shooting death of wife

Published: Mar. 27, 2018 at 5:17 AM EDT
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A former Marine Corps sergeant has admitted shooting his wife 15 times in the front yard of their home, while their three children were inside.

Christopher Skaggs appeared late this morning in Onslow Superior Court for the guilty plea. Skaggs was charged with first degree murder in the shooting death of his wife in July of 2014.

He pled guilty to first degree murder which carries a mandatory life in prison without parole. Had the case gone to trial, prosecutors could have pursued the death penalty against Skaggs.

Deputies say his wife, Jordan Skaggs, was shot multiple times in the chest at the couples’ home outside Richlands on Cherry Blossom Lane. A news release at the time said the Marine “went into a rage, got his handgun and began shooting the victim.”

In court, District Attorney Ernie Lee said Skaggs admitted to deputies that he shot his wife in the front yard, firing 10 to 15 rounds at her when she was ten yards or less from him.

“I unloaded the full clip in my wife because she’s been nagging me for a year and a half,” Skaggs told investigators.

Lee said after the shooting, their three young children, ages 2, 5 & 7, were screaming inside the house and Skaggs then went back inside and called 911.

The D.A. said an autopsy showed the mother had been shot 15 times.

Skaggs told investigators that he served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan and that he was about to be medically retired from the Marine Corps in two months. He said he had post-traumatic stress disorder and was being treated by medication.

The man’s attorney, Dick McNeil, told the judge “both are victims of sorts”, referring to the defendant and his wife..

Sergeant Skaggs was an infantryman on staff at the School of Infantry East at Camp Geiger, New River Air Station.