The man suspected of killing his girlfriend and setting their Wichita home on fire in June has pleaded guilty to first-degree felony murder, aggravated burglary, aggravated arson and three counts of child endangerment.
Dane Wright, 29, entered the plea last week after waiving a preliminary hearing on charges related to 36-year-old Reyona Caldwell’s death, according to Sedgwick County District Court records. He is scheduled for sentencing Dec. 8 before District Judge Stephen Ternes.
Firefighters discovered Caldwell’s body underneath a burned mattress and metal shelf in the basement of 321 N. Ash, near Second and Grove, after a fire was reported at the house on June 2. She died from being hit in the head, smoke inhalation and burns, according to her autopsy report. Investigators found pools of blood, several hammers, a gas container and a lighter near her body, court records say.
Caldwell’s three children – 11, 5 and 2 – became the subject of an Amber Alert when authorities couldn’t find them or Wright immediately after the fire. Police found the children unharmed in a south Wichita motel room later that night and arrested Wright nearby as he tried to evade capture.