Darling indicted in death of his wife

Posted: Sunday, April 24, 2005

A 41-year-old man serving time in federal prison for insurance fraud was indicted by a Kenai Grand Jury on Friday in the 1997 death of his wife.

Jay R. Darling was formally charged with one count of first-degree murder for allegedly killing his wife, Wanda Wood Darling, in Homer on or about Aug. 24, 1997.

Jay Darling had been a suspect in his wife's death since she fell from a bluff in Homer 7 1/2 years ago.

A warrant was issued for his arrest Friday.

According to Kenai District Attorney June Stein, the arrest will involve paperwork transferring him from federal custody to Alaska state custody for the murder trial.

In April 2003, Jay Darling was sentenced to 40 months in jail for insurance fraud after pleading guilty to one federal charge in January of that year.

According to prosecutors, he told several friends he planned to get life insurance money by faking his own death in a kayaking accident so his wife could collect.

He applied for the life insurance seven days after marrying Wanda Wood in 1997.

She supposedly fell from a bluff in Homer in August 1997 and Alaska State Troopers said Jay Darling has been a suspect ever since.

Stein filed an appearance for herself and assistant U.S. attorney Crandon Randell on behalf of the state in the murder case.

The murder trial will be conducted in Homer. No date has been set.

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