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Woman Pleads Guilty In Shooting Death Of Husband In Suicide Pact

April 2, 1985

CAMBRIDGE, Minn. (AP) _ A woman shot her sleeping husband on his instructions as part of a suicide pact but ″could not pull the trigger″ again to kill herself, a judge says.

Frances Mae Colsch, 37, of Isanti, pleaded guilty Monday to aiding a suicide. Her husband, John, 35, was shot to death on April 5, 1984.

She testified that she and her husband were distraught because child protection workers had removed four of their children from their home and that her husband was the target of a criminal investigation involving alleged sexual abuse of a child, Judge Linn Slattengren said.

Mrs. Colsch said that in the two months preceding the fatal shooting, she and her husband twice tried to kill themselves by carbon monoxide poisoning. The first time, they sat in a car in the garage with the engine running, and the second time they ran a hose from a car into a sealed bedroom.

″There was definitely a suicide pact,″ said County Attorney Gregory Korstad.

Mrs. Colsch testified that on the final attempt her husband drank some brandy and told her to shoot him after he fell asleep on a couch.

Slattengren said she testified that her husband told her: ″After you make sure I’m dead, then you may come with me.″

She said she tried to kill herself ″but she could not pull the trigger, and then she called the police,″ the judge said.

Mrs. Colsch had been charged with first-degree murder, but Korstad said the offense of aiding a suicide ″best described what really went on in that family.″

She faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a fine of $30,000.

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