Aspiring Pastor Pleads Guilty to Murdering His Wife

Matthew Phelps and Lauren Hugelmaier
Matthew Phelps and Lauren Hugelmaier (

Matthew Phelps, an aspiring pastor, pleaded guilty to murdering his wife last fall.

Phelps reportedly pleaded guilty in exchange for prosecutors not pursuing the death penalty. Phelps will likely spend life in prison without the possibility for parole.

"I feel like a monster. One of the wretched. Part of the darkness we don't speak of," Phelps said in court.

Phelps killed his wife in September 2017 while high on cough medicine.

"I took more medicine than I should have," he said, according to People. "I took Coricidin Cough and Cold because I know it can make you feel good. A lot of times I can't sleep at night. So, I took some."

Phelps told a 911 operator: "I have blood all over me and there's a bloody knife on the bed, and I think I did it. I can't believe this," according to an ABC affiliate.

Phelps allegedly murdered Lauren in the early hours of Friday. He is being held in jail without bail.

People reports a friend says Phelps was studying to be a pastor and had attended Clear Creek Baptist Bible College. His wife, Lauren Hugelmaier, was a prolific youth and children's ministry volunteer.

According to the News & Observer, more than 50 people, most from Hope Lutheran Church in Wake Forest, were in court Friday morning to support Lauren Phelps. They wore buttons featuring a picture of the woman and T-shirts reading #LaurensLight.

"The thoughts of all her little body endured at Matthew's hands are what my nightmares are made of," her mother, Laurie Hugelmaier, said in court.

Lauren's sister, Beth Agner, addressed Phelps directly.

"Matt, prison is a scary place," Agner said. "But being separated from God is worse, and his judgment is harsher than anything this court can give."

Jessilyn Justice @jessilynjustice is the director of online news for Charisma.

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