YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Smiling as she was led into court Friday morning, Michelle Ihlenfeld pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the beating death and dismemberment of Shannon Graves almost three years ago.
She’s the latest defendant to enter a plea in the case.
Ihlenfeld was one of four people charged in the case in which the victim’s body had been cut up, burned and then stuffed into a freezer after her death.
In court, Ihlenfeld admitted to obstruction of justice for lying before a Grand Jury and intimidation of a witness.
“She was involved in lying to the grand jury about what she knew and in sending a state’s witness a threatening message because he was cooperating with the state,” said Special Prosecutor Dan Karsaris.
Two others have already been convicted for their roles in the crime. Arturo Novoa is serving a life sentence for murder, while his long-time girlfriend Katrina Layton pleaded guilty last Friday to eight counts, including tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse.
This leaves only Ihlenfeld’s estranged husband, Andrew Herrmann, to come forward and resolve his own charges in this case. He’s expected in court in about six weeks.
“I do want everything out there. I want everyone to know what these people did to my little sister,” said Debbie Depaul, the victim’s sister.
Depaul said after all this time, she’s glad to finally see the case coming together.
“I feel like I just need to put this, I could say, behind us, but it’s never really going to be back there,” she said.
As part of Friday morning’s hearing, Ihlenfeld also pleaded guilty to separate, unrelated drug trafficking charges.
She will be sentenced on all counts late next month.