A woman charged for her role in the beating death of her boyfriend last year in their town of Dane home pleaded no contest Monday to being a party to felony murder.
McKayla R. Tracy, 21, of Lodi, initially sought to enter an Alford plea — a type of guilty plea in which she would still maintain her innocence — but that was rejected by Dane County Circuit Judge Susan Crawford.
Instead, Tracy’s no contest plea signifies she is neither admitting nor contesting the charge.
In October, Tracy was set to plead guilty to being a party to felony murder, but Crawford ended the hearing without accepting a plea because Tracy would not admit to certain facts Crawford required to provide a factual basis to accept her plea.
Tracy will be sentenced on Jan. 31 after the completion of a pre-sentence investigation by the state Department of Corrections.
Felony murder is charged when a person dies while others are committing a crime, in this case, battery.
Tracy was charged last November with being a party to felony murder in the Oct. 30, 2018, beating death of her boyfriend, Dalton D. Ziegler, 24, at a home on Highway 113 where Tracy and Ziegler lived.
A criminal complaint states Tracy became upset when another woman who had been at the home that night went to sleep in the couple’s bedroom. Ziegler had invited the woman to the room with him because Tracy, who was drinking, was being too loud while the woman tried to sleep on the sofa, the complaint states.
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Later, the complaint states, Tracy believed Ziegler was cheating on her with the woman and called Jacob A. Johnson, 25, of Sun Prairie, and Drew D. Luber, 22, of DeForest, to help catch Ziegler in the act, telling them Ziegler had abused her.
But after Johnson and Luber burst into the bedroom, they beat Ziegler severely and left him unconscious with injuries that included a facial fracture. Ziegler died from multiple blunt force injuries, the complaint states.
Johnson and Luber both pleaded guilty to felony murder earlier this year. Johnson was sentenced in August to seven years in prison, and Luber was sentenced a week later to six years in prison.
Tracy will await her sentencing hearing in the Dane County Jail.