McCracken Co. man pleads guilty to murdering wife, setting house on fire

Published: Jan. 20, 2016 at 12:46 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2016 at 12:52 AM CST
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MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KY (KFVS) - A McCracken County, Kentucky man pleaded guilty on Tuesday afternoon, January 19 to murdering his wife, setting his house on fire and killing his two dogs.

Keith Griffith also pleaded guilty to trying to hire someone to kill Capt. Matt Carter, the lead investigator in this case.

According to McCracken County Sheriff Jon Hayden, in early November 2015, he was told Griffith was trying to hire someone to kill the detective in order to keep him from being able to testify in Griffith's upcoming murder trial.

Sheriff Hayden said he met with FBI agents in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 4, 2015 and asked the agency to conduct an investigation into that tip.

The FBI wound evidence that Griffith did try to have Capt. Carter killed for $10,000.

Those findings were turned over to the McCracken County Commonwealth Attorney on Jan. 14, 2016.

Sheriff Hayden said notice of the prosecutor's intent on using the new evidence in his upcoming murder trial was made to Griffith's defense team on Jan. 15.

On Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 19, the sheriff said they were told that Griffith wished to plead guilty to all charges, including the plot to have the captain shot with a high-powered rifle at his home.

Sheriff Hayden said Griffith pleaded guilty at around 4:15 p.m., and was sentenced to 30 years in prison by McCracken County Circuit Court Judge Tim Kaltenbach.

Griffith's wife, 55-year-old Julie Griffith, was found dead in her home on Tudor Blvd. in Reidland after a fire was reported at the home by a passerby on the morning of Jan. 17, 2014.

An autopsy performed later day revealed foul play.

According to Sheriff Hayden, Julie Griffith was shot three times in the chest. The house was then set on fire, which also killed two dogs that were in the home.

In February 2015, Griffith's trial ended in a hung jury. The judge denied Griffith's request for a "reasonable bond," and told him he could file a motion asking for a bond reduction.

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