A northwest Iowa man accused of killing his estranged wife has agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges just over a week before his trial. 52-year-old Phil Termaat of Rock Valley was originally charged with first-degree murder in the strangulation of his estranged wife. He pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and attempted murder in Sioux County District Court today. The body of Melinda Persons-Termatt was found on a recreational trail in Rock Valley July 31st of 2002. Sioux County attorney Melisa O’Rourke says Termaat has signed a plea agreement saying that the two sentences will run consecutively. He’ll have to serve at least 25 years before being eligble for parole. O’rourke says Melinda’s family was in favor of the agreement. Termaat remains in the Sioux County jail pending the formal sentencing, which should come in June. His trial had been scheduled to start May 28th.
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