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A Little Rock man pleaded guilty Thursday to the stabbing death of his wife and attempted murder of their child in 2018.

Doyle Ashcraft received sentences totaling 70 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder and one count of criminal attempt to commit first-degree murder, according to Pulaski County Circuit Judge Barry Sims' office.

About 6:45 a.m. March 26, 2018, Little Rock firefighters found the body of Marjorie Ashcraft, 35, in a home on Redleaf Circle. Authorities said the woman had "several apparent stabbing injuries."

A 14-year-old boy said he awoke to smoke in the house and tried to alert his parents but failed. He was able to break a window, get out and run to a neighbor's house for help, according to court filings.

Police say Doyle Ashcraft, who arrived as authorities responded, told officers he was returning from a trip to Walmart on an errand for his wife, who he said had an upset stomach.

[INTERACTIVE MAP: Search all killings in Little Rock, North Little Rock this year at arkansasonline.com/2020homicides]

Doyle Ashcraft said that he had secured the home before he left and that neither he nor the 14-year-old killed Marjorie Ashcraft, documents show, but police noted that the statement was "inconsistent" with evidence.

Doyle Ashcraft told police that a military-style knife and some lighter fluid were in the garage, according to court records. An empty bottle of lighter fluid as well as a leather sheath for a knife were found in the home, but the knife wasn't found.

An arrest report said Doyle Ashcraft set fire to the home "after disabling smoke detectors, while his son slept." Detectives found several smoke detectors that had been "purposely removed from their mounts," according to a probable cause affidavit.

The teen, who was treated for smoke inhalation and released, said he had seen his father testing smoke detectors the day before and "knew they were on the wall and functioning."

Doyle Ashcraft received a 40-year term for murder and 30 years for attempted murder. The sentences will run consecutively, officials said.

Metro on 01/14/2020

Print Headline: Man gets 70 years in attacks on family

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