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D.C. man pleads guilty to fatally stabbing estranged wife in front of her children

Crime Scene - Do Not Cross CC AlanCleaver2000/Flickr

(CBS/WUSA) WASHINGTON - A Wash., D.C. man accused of fatally stabbing his estranged wife, Alecia Wheeler, in front of his children pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a first degree murder charge.

Claude Kinney, 48, reached a plea agreement with the government and agreed to accept a sentence of 30 years in prison, reports CBS affiliate WUSA.

According to U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen, 30 years is the minimum sentence for first degree murder, WUSA reports. Machen reportedly says if the court doesn't agree with that sentence then Kinney can withdraw his plea.

According to government evidence, Wheeler was walking her three children home from school down an alley around 3 p.m. on Sept. 13, when Kinney pulled up in his pick-up truck and began stabbing her. Prosecutors say he stabbed Wheeler her numerous times in the head, neck, chest and back. Wheeler's nine-year-old daughter screamed, "My Mommy is getting stabbed."

D.C. police officers captured Kinney only minutes after the stabbing after they were alerted to the crime.

WUSA reports, citing government evidence, that after being stopped by police, Kinney said, "I don't know why she made me do this." He also reportedly said, "God, please forgive me."

The day before her murder, Wheeler had taken out a temporary protection order against Kinney.

Kinney's sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 13, 2012.

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