Darren Mack Enters Guilty Plea for Murder - 8 News NOW

Mark Sayre, Investigative Reporter

Darren Mack Enters Guilty Plea for Murder

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Soorya Townley, Charla's mother Soorya Townley, Charla's mother
Family Court Judge Chuck Weller Family Court Judge Chuck Weller
Darren Mack Darren Mack

Accused murderer Darren Mack has entered a guilty plea in the death of his estranged wife, Charla Mack, and an Alford Plea in the shooting of a Reno judge.

In a surprise move Monday morning, 46-year-old Mack entered the pleas bringing a close to his trial which started on Oct. 24. The defense was supposed to begin giving its case to the jury Monday morning after the prosecution rested on Friday following seven full days of testimony. The trial was moved to Las Vegas because an impartial jury could not be found in Reno.

Mack stabbed his wife to death in his garage on June 12, 2006 and then shot Family Court Judge Chuck Weller through a courthouse window.

"Shooting at the judiciary is not the proper form of political redress," Mack told the judge. By entering the Alford Plea in the judge's shooting, which means that Mack does not admit to the act but admits there is sufficient evidence to find him guilty.

Charla Mack filed for divorce in 2005. In court documents, her lawyer said Darren Mack ignored Weller's order to pay her $10,000 a month in temporary alimony. Weller found him in contempt of court, and Mack filed for bankruptcy to avoid paying.

Mack had earlier pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the attempted murder charge and had said he killed his wife in self-defense. In exchange for his admissions, prosecutors agreed to recommend a sentence of life in prison with possible parole after 20 years, though the judge is not bound by that agreement. Mack also faces two to 20 years on the attempted murder charge. Under Nevada law, his sentence automatically will be doubled because a deadly weapon was involved.

Mack is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Doug Herndon in Las Vegas on Jan. 17 and 18. Mack has made it clear that he wants to have the opportunity to speak at his sentencing.

"There are some very important things to say, and I've remained quiet through this whole thing," Mack said.

Soorya Townley, Charla's mother, said she was pleased with the outcome. She called Mack a "sociopath," who "hypnotized himself into believing he's justified and he's the victim." "All I can see in my mind is how my daughter was slaughtered like an animal -- she was slaughtered like an animal -- and she was the mother of his children. And she was one of the most magnificent people that has ever walked this earth and we don't have her anymore," Townley said.

Prominent Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred is representing Judge Chuck Weller who made this brief statement:

"I am proud to be a judge and I'm proud to be a part of a legal system that gives every accused the right to a fair trial. I am very glad that this dark night is over -- or at least that a portion of this dark night is over. I want to thank everybody who, by their actions and their prayers, supported me and my wife and my children," said Weller. 

Darren Mack's mother, Joan, and his brother, Landon, left the courthouse without making any public comments.

Mack's attorney, David Chesnoff, says Mack's was ready to take responsibility for what he had done. "He wound up in what he calls a perfect storm and he wanted some finality to it and he is also didn't want to spend time disparaging his deceased wife," he said.

And prosecutors say the deal is also good for the state.

"Well we had two objectives -- one was to convict Darken Mack of first degree murder which we did. The other objective was to convict him of attempted murder which we did -- so we're really achieving the objectives of the prosecutors by this negotiation," said assistant district attorney, Christopher Lalli.

Email your comments to Investigative Reporter Mark Sayre.

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