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5:48 AM Thu, Dec. 13th

LIFE IN PRISON: wife aided in husband's murder

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier<br>Defense Attorney Greg Clark listens as Cynthia Mueller speaks before Judge Jennifer Campbell sentences her for first degree murder Wednesday afternoon at the Yavapai County Courthouse in downtown Prescott.

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier<br>Defense Attorney Greg Clark listens as Cynthia Mueller speaks before Judge Jennifer Campbell sentences her for first degree murder Wednesday afternoon at the Yavapai County Courthouse in downtown Prescott.

PRESCOTT - Cynthia Jane Mueller, who - along with Charles Todd - murdered her husband in November 2012, as he lay in bed suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease, was sentenced to life in prison with no chance for early release Wednesday, Aug. 19.

Cynthia, 50, was convicted of the murder in June. A jury found that she had suffocated her husband, David Mueller, with help from Todd, who claimed to have been having an affair with Cynthia.

David had been suffering from ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - a degenerative neuromuscular disease also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

He was found dead in the couple's home in the 1800 block of Windy Walk Lane in Prescott.

Todd, who testified as part of a plea deal that the two of them killed David together, in June was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Cynthia's attorney argued that Todd actually killed David himself so he could be with Cynthia.

But, Todd testified they did it together, and as soon as David was gone, she lost interest in him.

Deputy County Attorney Steve Young argued that Mueller was frustrated that her husband was bedridden, delusional and using up his life insurance to pay for treatment, instead of leaving it to her.

Cynthia was found guilty of four counts: first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, fraudulent schemes and artifices, and unlawful use of power of attorney.

On Wednesday, she made a long, rambling and impassioned statement to Superior Court Judge Jennifer Campbell.

She claimed "it's really easy to manipulate a jury with 12 people when nine are women" and suggested that many jurors were not well-educated.

She said she and her children had been "victimized by the ignorance of late-stage ALS," and seemed to say that ALS had taken David's life.

Then she began to attack Todd, saying that he was "deranged" and a manipulative con artist.

"I have been exploited, I have been used, and abused by this man," she said.

She went on to complain about the health system, saying that David was left to die in his home.

"His own doctor had never had a patient with this kind of ALS," she said.

Campbell interrupted her to remind her that she was to address sentencing, not re-argue the case.

"I think it was a mistrial," Cynthia said. "That was your job."

She railed against the prosecution, telling Campbell that Young was more concerned with getting a conviction than exposing the truth.

At one point, as she continued to speak, Cynthia suddenly stood up, prompting an alarmed reaction from the bailiff and detention deputies, but she was only trying to reach for a tissue.

"Now, I have to go to prison, and what? Wait for an appeal?" she asked. "There was no reason for me to kill my dying husband."

Campbell said, "A jury of your peers disagrees with you. They listened to your version of events and they determined that they didn't believe you."

Campbell rapidly imposed a sentence of natural life in prison on the murder charge, and then said, "I have no words. Let's leave it at that."

Follow Scott Orr on Twitter @AZNewsguy. Call him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2038 or 928-642-7705.