Charles Eugene March strangled co-worker Kathy Goble in 2010.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The longtime co-worker of a woman who was found buried and dismembered on his Chesapeake property told detectives that he killed her because she asked him to, according to a transcript of his interrogation released Thursday.
Charles Eugene March pleaded guilty Wednesday to first-degree murder in the death of his Kelley's Men's Shop co-worker, Sheila "Kathy" Goble. March was arrested in April after his son found Goble's remains buried in March's backyard in Chesapeake. She had been missing for two years.
On the day he was arrested, April 25, March initially told detectives that he did not have any idea where Goble was and apparently did not know that his son had found her remains. Once detectives told March that police had a search warrant for his house, he admitted to killing Goble, according to the transcript.
March then told police that Goble asked him to strangle her to death because she was having family troubles and did not want to commit suicide.
"She said -- I thought she was joking -- she said, 'I want you to kill me,'" March told Kanawha County Sheriff's Detective Sean Snuffer during the interrogation.
March said that, in 2010, Goble called him after work and told him to meet her in the parking lot of the Nitro Moose Lodge. March said when he met her there, she told him to follow her to Interstate 64 in Putnam County. She stopped her Honda Pilot along the highway, put a rag in the window and got into his car, he said.
Police have found no evidence to indicate that Goble wanted to die, Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants said Thursday. Common items were still sitting out in her home, including cleaning supplies on her table, and she did not leave any kind of note, he said.
Plants could not confirm if Goble was having problems with her family at the time.
"Criminals, when they confess, they come up with stories that match the evidence they think exists," Plants said. "We just have no evidence to corroborate the mercy-killing angle."
March's lawyer, Richard Holicker, said Thursday that he would have presented a different defense theory if March's case had gone to trial. He said he would not discuss what that defense would have been.
At one point during his interrogation, March claimed Goble broached the subject of him killing her about a week and a half before she died. At another point, he said they talked about it in the Moose Lodge parking lot. He also said they talked about it in the car on the way to his home.
"She said, 'You have to,'" March told police, according to the transcript. "She said, 'It's that I'm going to do something else and then people's going to think I'm a bad person."
March claimed that, once they got to his trailer, Goble asked him to bind her wrists to the bedposts with neckties and have sex with her. Afterward, she begged him to strangle her.
"I mean, you see that on television," March told the detectives. "You don't expect anybody to ever beg them to kill you."
"God, I've never felt so bad for somebody that I just wanted to, you know?" he said.
Detectives were skeptical.
"So you're telling me that she asked you to do this," Snuffer said.
"Uh-huh," March said.
"And then you get there and she's asking you to kill her."
"But then you have sex with her."
Snuffer said that, in his experience, there are only two things that drive someone to kill: anger and self-defense. March said he killed her only because she begged him to.
March also said several times during the interrogation that Goble claimed she was going to do something destructive. At one point, he said, Goble asked him to kill someone who was causing trouble for her family.
When pressed, though, March said he did not know what she had planned.
At March's plea hearing Wednesday, Snuffer testified that Goble's hands were still bound to the bed when she was killed. However, according to the transcript of the interrogation, March said he untied her before he began to choke her.
"I could feel her throat crushing under my thumbs," he said, "and she was going, 'Do it. Do it.'"
March said that after Goble died, he put a plastic bag over her head to make sure she was dead and then dragged her to his bathroom and used a wood saw to dismember her. He buried her in his backyard, along with her purse. He said he dismembered her because he could not carry her body.
March said that before he agreed to kill her, he told Goble he would not want a trial and that he would plead guilty if police ever found her body.
Plants said Thursday that investigators could not refute March's claim that he followed Goble to where her Honda was found on I-64. His fingerprints were not found on the car and there is no evidence that he drove it the day she was killed.
Plants said, though, that even if Goble had told March she wanted to die, his actions would still amount to murder under the law.
"At the end of the day, the evidence shows he intentionally strangled and dismembered Kathy Goble," he said. "I don't know if anyone can really say why."
Reach Zac Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5189.