Prosecutors in Fort Worth say Rodolfo “Rudy” Arellano pleaded guilty to capital murder on Jan. 30. He will serve life behind bars without chance of parole.
Arellano, 36, could have faced the death penalty if convicted at trial.
Prosecutor Allenna Bangs told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that family members of the slain Elizabeth Arellano, 28, are comforted to hear the guilty plea.
“The idea that he is going to admit it and he is going to say that it is him, and that he is guilty, brought them such a level of peace,” Bangs said to the newspaper.
— Jeff Smith (@JeffSmithi24) April 27, 2016
Arellano’s defense attorney, Richard Henderson, called the plea deal a “correct resolution” to the case according to the Star-Telegram.
“It was just a difficult case,” Henderson said. “A mother has been lost and a father has been lost to the children.”
The prosecutor said people who knew Elizabeth will never be able to bring her back.
“Elizabeth Arellano was a mom and a daughter, and a sister and friend,” Bangs said, according to the Star-Telegram. “So knowing that he is in prison for the remainder of his natural life, and that is not going to change, and knowing the comfort that brought them is what puts us where we are today.”
Officials initially thought Elizabeth’s death might have been a suicide.
Her body was discovered in Lake Worth during April 2016 after fishermen reported hearing screams and seeing someone fall from the bridge according to police.
When her body was finally discovered, a rope was tied around her neck and attached to a 119-pound hunk of concrete.
Rodolfo Arellano killed his wife and dumped her body off Lake Worth bridge to make it look like suicide, police say. pic.twitter.com/vp2T9WMd8K
— ScottGordonNBC5 (@ScottGordonNBC5) April 27, 2016
Detectives later said they believed Rodolfo had lain in wait outside her parents’ home and kidnapped Elizabeth.
Investigators believe Elizabeth was still alive when she hit the water. Tarrant County medical officers ruled her death a homicide by drowning.
Rodolfo was arrested 10 days later.
Relatives cited by the Dallas Morning News said the couple had been together for 13 years but Elizabeth was planning to divorce her husband.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.