The Richmond Register

January 3, 2013

Man pleads guilty to attempted manslaughter

Admits to spiking wife’s coffee with rat poison

By Sarah Hogsed
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — On a day normally reserved for romance – Feb. 14 – a Madison County man will be sentenced for trying to kill his wife with rat poison.

William T. Cain, 56, pleaded guilty Thursday to attempted first-degree manslaughter. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jennifer Smith recommended a sentence of six and a half years.

Cain will be eligible for parole after serving 20 percent of his sentence, which is a little over a year. He has been at the Madison County Detention Center since May 6 and will have already served 284 days when sentenced.

The sentencing recommendation comes from a felony mediation that was conducted outside of court. The prosecution and defense both presented a summary of their cases to Senior Judge Julia Adams, who then worked with them, the defendant and the victim to find an agreeable resolution.

Cain originally was charged with attempted murder, which carries a sentencing range of 10 to 20 years in prison.

While entering his guilty plea in Madison Circuit Court, Judge William Clouse asked Cain to state what he did.

“Well, I put a little rat poison in her coffee,” Cain said.

Cain’s attorney said the man knew the rat poison would cause harm to his wife because of her medical condition.

Deborah Cain called police May 6, telling them she believed there was rat poison in the bottom of her coffee pot. Richmond officers took the coffee for testing.

William Cain had left the residence but was later found and interviewed at the police station.

During the interview, “(Cain) stated his wife argues with him over everything, and he could not take it anymore,” Officer Paul Hogan wrote in the report. Cain told police he made the decision to slip rat poison in his wife’s coffee the night before, according to the report.

Two witnesses also told police that Cain had made comments about wanting to “kill or poison his wife” on or about May 2.

The couple separated in August 2011, and Deborah Cain filed for divorce in 2012. The couple had been married since 2001.

Deborah Cain attended the change-of-plea hearing. Smith said she believed the two are now divorced.

After the hearing, Deborah Cain said if she had a chance to say anything to her ex-husband, she would just want to ask him “why?” She added that all he had to do was leave to get out of the relationship.

William Cain is scheduled for sentencing at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 14.

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at shogsed@richmondregister.com or 624-6694.