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Madison man pleads guilty to 7 charges in wife's death

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A court gavel

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A Madison man pleaded guilty to seven charges Friday, after he beat his wife and tried to set her on fire at his woodworking shop.

60-year-old Andrew Spear pleaded guilty in Dane County Circuit Court to six misdemeanors – three for battery, two for disorderly conduct, and one for criminal damage. He also admitted to felony bail jumping.

His two most serious charges – felony false imprisonment and attempted homicide – were dropped in a plea deal.

Spear will be sentenced on September 13th.

Spear, a retired businessman from Texas, was accused of dousing his wife Mary with gasoline last August, and then beating her and trying to set her on fire.

Prosecutors said he suspected his wife of having an affair with former state Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith. Smith vehemently denied the affair, and said he had only a working relationship with Mary Spear who was his department attorney. 

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