Attempted homicide charge dropped for man accused of trying to burn wife

Spear to appeared in court Friday

MADISON, Wis. - Charges of attempted homicide and false imprisonment have been dropped for a Madison man accused of trying to kill his wife by burning her.

Andrew Spear, 60, was charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide, false imprisonment, disorderly conduct and battery. In a deal announced in court on Friday, Spear pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and battery.

Assistant District Attorney Matthew Moeser  said it would have been difficult to prove the intentional homicide and false imprisonment charges.

Sentencing is set for Sept. 13. Prosecutors will not ask for prison time, but he might still be subject to jail time.

A criminal complaint said Spear hit his wife, Mary Spear, a state attorney, and drove her to their storage unit in August 2012, where he forced her inside and told her to undress. The wife said Spear then covered her in gasoline and drunkenly threatened to ignite her body, according to the complaint.

Mary Spear was the chief legal counsel for the state Department of Health Services. Throughout previous court proceedings, the defense brought up an alleged affair between Mary Spear and her boss at the state Department of Health Services.

Mary Spear's boss acknowledged knowing her for 40 years but denied any relationship with her beyond friendship.

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