NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — A Portsmouth woman accused of choking to death another woman in 2015 pleaded guilty in Newport County Superior Court to one count of second-degree murder Wednesday.
Prosecutors said Melissa Castle, now 37, strangled and killed Rachel Kilroy in August 2015 during an argument inside Kilroy’s Middletown apartment.
It was revealed in court that Castle told police “I choked her. She’s dead.”
Under the plea, which was approved by the victim’s family, Castle was sentenced to 50 years with 35 to serve in prison and the remainder suspended with probation.
“An argument between friends turned violent, resulting in the tragic death of a daughter, mother and sister,” said Attorney General Peter Kilmartin. “Rachel’s family misses her deeply every day.”
No motive for the killing was given, but while reading an apology in court, Castle alluded to struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues.
“I know it does not bring any measure of comfort and I do not deserve forgiveness, but please know I will feel sorry for what I did the rest of my life,” Castle told Kilroy’s family in court. “I hope this plea allows you to at least move on from that night so you can remember Rachel for the wonderful person that she was. I am so sorry.”
Kilroy’s mother, Johanna Kilroy, read an impact statement in court saying although Rachel struggled in her adult life, she always retained her generous spirit and compassion.
“She had a beautiful smile, a hearty laugh and would always embrace her friends and family with her bear hugs,” she read.
The judge said Kilroy had offered Castle a place to stay after Castle left a drug treatment center she had been sent to by court, without permission.
Kilroy’s mother said they will keep her daughter’s memory alive, for her young son, and make sure he knows how much she loved him.
It was previously reported that Castle and Kilroy were domestic partners. However, it was revealed in court that this was not the case and that the two were acquaintances.