Woman Pleads Guilty in Grave-Robbing for Fraud
A woman pleaded guilty to helping her husband fake his own death by digging up a corpse from a cemetery and then staging a fiery car accident in which the body was burned beyond recognition.
Molly Daniels pleaded guilty Tuesday to insurance fraud and hindering apprehension. She faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Her husband, Clayton Wayne Daniels, is in custody pending trial on arson charges.
According to allegations in court records, Clayton Daniels dug up a body from a graveyard, placed it in his car and set the car on fire in June, burning the body beyond recognition.
Authorities believe the body found in the wreck belonged to Charlotte Davis, an 81-year-old woman who died in 2003. Her empty coffin was found in the cemetery.
In court, investigators said the June 18, 2004, wreck, in which the green Chevrolet was found scorched and at the bottom of a cliff, had seemed fishy from the start. There were no skid marks on the road, they said, and an investigator found that the fire started in the driver’s seat and was helped along by charcoal lighter fluid.
Assistant Dist. Atty. Jane Starnes blamed greed for the alleged plot, pointing to a $110,000 life insurance policy. Officials also said the staged death came days before Clayton Daniels was to go to jail for failing to report to his probation officer. He had been given probation for a sexual assault of a young girl.