WHITE CLOUD (WWJ/AP) – A former city council member in a small western Michigan community has pleaded no contest in the bathtub drowning of his wife.

Timothy Shannon, whose trial was scheduled to start in July, entered the plea Monday in Oceana County Circuit Court to second-degree murder in the Dec. 29 death of 34-year-old Lee-Ann Shannon. He’s due back in court for sentencing on July 15, when he could receive life in prison. Prosecutors have asked for 20 years in prison.

Defense attorney Doug Springstead sought the plea so 34-year-old Shannon, who is also facing a civil lawsuit, could avoid speaking about the crime.

Timothy Shannon first told police his wife accidentally drowned and he tried to revive her. According to the prosecutor’s office, autopsy results confirm she drowned.

According to court testimony, Shannon eventually told police that he approached his wife while she was in the bathtub, allegedly after she had consumed a large amount of alcohol, The Muskegon Chronicle reported. Shannon said his wife “became upset he was asking for a divorce” and tried to pull him into the tub.

“Eventually [Shannon] admitted to holding her under the water until he realized she was dead,” a detective testified in court. Another detective testified that Shannon told them he held his wife under water for at least three minutes.

Police say on the day of her death, Shannon’s wife was expected to move out of the family home so his mistress could move in. The mistress allegedly moved in, but left the home a few days later after Shannon asked her to leave “because he needed time to heal,” police said.

The Shannons had no known history of domestic violence, but family members allegedly told police there were marital problems. They were married in 2006 and have two children, ages 3 and 4.

Shannon was a Hart City Council member at the time of his wife’s death. He originally faced a charge of open murder.

A no contest plea isn’t an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing.

TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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