Landscaper Pleads Guilty in Wheaton Woman's Death

WHEATON, Md. -- A landscaper has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the November killing of an 83-year-old client in Wheaton.

Jose Alvarado acknowledged Wednesday that he conspired with his cousin to kill Lila Meizell in her home to avoid detection in a check altering scheme.

The cousin, Ramon Alvarado, is accused of breaking into the home, slamming the woman's head into furniture, dousing her with gasoline and setting her on fire.

The cousin offered to kill Meizell for $1,200 after Jose Alvarado worried he would get caught for altering a $75 check from the woman by adding two extra zeros, prosecutors said.

The cousin is expected to stand trial this fall. Jose Alvarado's wife, Ana Rodas, pleaded guilty Wednesday to accessory after the fact.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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