An Orleans man has pleaded guilty to 2nd-degree murder for shooting and killing his wife at their home in 2018. Randall Swartz, 62, also pleaded guilty to two counts of violating conditions of release as part of a plea agreement in Orleans Superior Court on Tuesday. A contested sentencing hearing will now be scheduled so that prosecutor Farzana Leyva and defense attorney Rob Sussman of Burlington can present their sentencing arguments. State police said they found Swartz at his home on May 15, 2018, suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his abdomen. They also found his wife, Thea Swartz, 54, dead from a gunshot wound on the floor of their Irasburg Street home. Thea Swartz called 911 and told the police dispatcher that her husband was drunk and threatening her. Her statement to the dispatcher was followed by the sounds of gunfire, said police. The Vermont Medical Examiner said Thea Swartz died from a single gunshot wound to the chest. In March of 2017, state police investigators confirmed that Randall Swartz was under a joint state-federal investigation for allegedly stealing machine parts from his employer at Cabot Creamery and using them in his side business selling maple syrup production equipment.
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