Prosecutors Say Farmer's Wife Stabbed Him With Pitchfork, Shot Him And Buried Him In Manure Pile

06/05/2015 10:06 am ET | Updated Jun 05, 2015
New York State Police

A New York state woman whose husband was found buried in a pile of manure in April has been indicted on murder charges.

Charlene Mess, 48, pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges including second degree murder, criminal use of a firearm, first degree and second degree assault, and tampering with evidence in the death of Douglas Mess, 52. The couple had been married for 30 years.

She was ordered held on $1 million bail.

Wyoming County prosecutors allege that the woman struck Douglas in the head and body with a pitchfork before shooting him in the back of the head with a .22 caliber rifle, ABC affiliate WKBW reports. His body was found buried in manure at the back of the Mess family's dairy farm, Faith View, in Attica, New York.

According to WKBW, Douglas Mess was reported missing in April by his son, Douglas, Jr. The 52-year-old farmer had health issues, and his son became concerned when he didn't show up for work.

Police launched an air and ground search of the property. It wasn't long before someone made a gruesome discovery.

"The body was actually found by family and friends of the deceased," Capt. Steven Nirgelli of the New York State Police told WKBW.

The tight-knit farming community was shocked by the death. Family and friends told WKBW that the couple had been having marital problems.

Neighbors who'd known the Messes since they bought their farm couldn't believe what had happened just down the road.

“Doug’s probably the nicest guy that you could ever meet,” Marcia Hirsch, whose family runs a local farm, told WIBV. “If you had any problem or anything, Doug knew how to fix it.”

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