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Man pleads guilty to manslaughter after running over wife in Menifee County

A man has pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter after running over his wife in Menifee County, killing her.

MENIFEE COUNTY, Ky. - A man has pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter after running over his wife in Menifee County, killing her.

Investigators say Austin Prater, who was 20 at the time, killed his 18-year-old wife Mariah with his pickup in April 2017. Police found her body in a ditch off the roadway.

Mariah leaves behind a daughter, 4, who family says asks about her frequently.

"[Mariah] loved her baby more than I've ever seen any woman love a child, and her baby feels the same way about her," Mariah's grandmother Teresa Little says, "Her baby is four years old now. She lost her mommy when she was only three, but she remembers her mommy in full detail as if it were yesterday."

Prater was originally charged with murder, but he pleaded guilty to lesser charges. He also pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, failure to render aid, violating an emergency protective order and tampering with physical evidence.

Police say Prater called 911 anonymously before hiding his cellphone and leaving the scene.

Part of the plea agreement means Prater would spend seven years in prison.

"Though a part of my heart was taken away when Mariah was taken away, there's memories no one can erase," Little said.

Some members of the victim's family say they understand the plea deal and are looking forward to having closure.

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