Woman found guilty of first-degree murder in Eagle County

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Leigha Page Ackerson

EAGLE, Colo. (KDVR) — A jury in Eagle County returned a guilty verdict in the trial of a woman accused of first-degree murder stemming from the 2018 killing of a 74-year-old woman.

Leigha Page Ackerson, 27, was also convicted on Nov. 13 of first-degree burglary, conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary, aggravated robbery, conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, and first-degree criminal trespass.

After being alerted by a suspicious neighbor, Eagle County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the Pilgrim Downs subdivision in Edwards on Jan. 24, 2018. Deputies saw signs of a forcible entry into a residence and footprints in the snow leading away from the home. When police entered the residence, they found Catherine Kelley deceased under blankets and a bloody knife near her body in the master bathroom shower.

Leigha Page Ackerson and her husband, Jacob White, were arrested hours after the initial residence response only a few hundred yards from Ms. Kelley’s house, then booked into custody at the Eagle County Detention Facility.

On Sept. 21, 2018, White pleaded guilty to both second-degree murder of Kelley, and first-degree burglary. He was sentenced to the Colorado Department of Corrections for 68 years.

At trial, Ackerson testified that she was helpless and could not stop her husband from committing the murder because she was physically abused by White during their marriage. The jury heard evidence however, that she helped plan the murder with her husband, assisted him in carrying out the attack and fled the scene with him.

Leigha Ackerson’s formal sentencing will be held on Dec. 18, where she faces a mandatory life sentence for Kelley’s murder.

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