December 4, 2006
Near Bethany, Missouri
Anna Yoder Borntreger (26) dies, ostensibly from liver problems
Anna’s death, while sudden, was not presumed to have been foul play, primarily because she had been ill for a short while prior to her death. Some of her family had their suspicions, however. “They felt that maybe it wasn’t actually a liver problem,” Sheriff Josh Eckerson, who was not sheriff at the time of Anna’s death, later told reporters. Within a year of Anna’s death, her husband Samuel remarried. He and his second wife later moved to Kentucky where they lived with the five children Samuel had had with Anna and the five children he had had with his second wife.
A decade later on January 11, 2016, Samuel surrendered himself to authorities and confessed to the murder of his first wife. According to Samuel, he first began poisoning Anna with Tylenol, which accounted for the illness she experienced before her death. He then poisoned Anna’s vitamin drinks with antifreeze and, once she was in a coma, he administered battery acid into Anna’s rectum twice in one day with the aid of a syringe. He explained the reason he was confessing to the murder was as a form of atonement to God.
Samuel was initially charged with first degree murder, which could have carried either a life sentence or the death penalty, though the prosecutors noted they would likely not pursue capital punishment. Before the trial began, Samuel accepted a plea deal offered by the prosecution, lowering the charge to second degree murder and the sentence to 25 years. By state law, Samuel must serve 85% of his sentence (21 years and 3 months) before he is eligible for parole.
The Assistant Attorney General told the court the murder was committed because Samuel “didn’t love [Anna] any more” and wanted to marry someone else, but the Amish do not believe in divorce.
Missouri Department of Corrections. DOC ID: 1301123. Accessed: December 4, 2020. https://web.mo.gov/doc/offSearchWeb/offenderInfoAction.do
White, Marshall. “Man sentenced for killing.” St. Joseph News-Press. August 9, 2016
Mann, Randall. “Samuel Borntreger pleads guilty to 2nd-degree murder.” KTTN. June 21, 2016. Accessed: December 4, 2020. https://www.kttn.com/samuel-borntreger-pleads-guilty-to-2nd-degree-murder/
White, Marshall. “Trial date looms in Amish murder case.” St. Joseph News-Press. June 1, 2016
White, Marshall. “Man charged in wife’s murder to mull plea deal.” St. Joseph News-Press. February 4, 2016
Hollingsworth, Heather. “Sheriff: Amish man confessed to poisoning wife in Missouri.” The Seattle Times. January 12, 2016. Accessed: December 4, 2020. https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/sheriff-amish-man-confessed-to-poisoning-wife-in-missouri/
STATE OF MISSOURI Plantiff, vs. Samuel H. Borntreger Defendant. Case No. 16AH-CR00012. Files: January 11, 2016 (digitized: https://www.scribd.com/doc/295500611/Samuel-Borntreger-Criminal-Complaint)