PRINCETON — After giving a judge a detailed description Wednesday of how a Minnesota man was struck on the head with a wine bottle, tied up, tortured, injected with methamphetamine, strangled, buried, disinterred, dismembered and then buried again, a North Carolina woman faces up to 40 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder.
A plea hearing was conducted for Anna Marie Choudhary, 33, of Boone, N.C. Choudhary, who is incarcerated at the South Central Regional Jail in Charleston, was conducted by teleconference before Judge Ed Kornish in McDowell County Circuit Court. The hearing was held over the internet as a precaution against COVID-19. Choudhary’s trial was scheduled to begin in February.
Choudhary was charged along her father, Larry Paul McClure Sr. of Pendleton, Ky., and her sister, Amanda Michelle Naylor McClure, 31, of Chisago City, Minn., with first-degree murder in the death of John Thomas McGuire, 38, of Minnesota. McGuire was killed on or about Feb. 14, 2019 which is Valentine’s Day.
McClure pleaded guilty on July 16, 2020 to first-degree murder and was later sentenced to life imprisonment without mercy, meaning he will never have an opportunity for parole. Amanda McClure pleaded guilty in July 2020 to second-degree murder and was later sentenced to the maximum term of 40 years in prison.
John McGuire had traveled with Amanda McClure from Minnesota. After their vehicle broke down in Indiana, Larry McClure and Choudhary picked them up and brought them to McClure’s home in Skygusty, a community in McDowell County. McGuire’s body was discovered Sept. 24, 2019, in a grave at a Skygusty residence after McClure disclosed it to officials with the West Virginia State Police.
After reminding Choudhary about her constitutional rights including the right to a jury trial and making sure she understood the proceedings, Kornish questioned her about McGuire’s murder.
“Now, you need to tell me how John was killed and what your involvement was,” Kornish told Choudhary.
Choudhary described how she had lived in Skygusty with Larry McClure and how her sister, Amanda, and John McGuire came to live with them. Choudhary said that she did not know McGuire before that time. Both McGuire and Amanda McClure both had a drug problem and were “coming off meth pretty hard,” she said.
On the second week after their arrival, McGuire and/or Amanda McClure decided that they wanted to make some meth, and Larry McClure helped them buy the ingredients from local stores, Choudhary recalled. This meth did not come out correctly and failed to form crystals, but Amanda kept the liquid in a jar. While this was happening, Larry McClure had what Choudhary called “a quiet rage.” He would also “go off to the side” and speak with Amanda. Choudhary also recalled that he asked her to cut some pieces of rope, and that she saw nothing strange about this since she had done it before when they hauled scrap metal.
Leading up to Valentine’s Day, Larry McClure purchased steaks, potatoes and a bottle of wine for a holiday dinner, Choudhary told Kornish. After the meal, “things started to get strange,” she added. Amanda McClure kept the empty wine bottle close to her.
“I didn’t think anything of it after that. Well, when Larry said he wanted to play a game, a trust game, Amanda had been joking about how she was able to get out of anything. She was able to tie herself up and nobody will believe she could tie herself up that way.”
The game progressed and McGuire’s feet were tied. Larry McClure then sat down on a couch and smiled.
“He sat down and I don’t know, it was a grin that I’ll never be able to describe,” Choudhary said. “But as John sat up and bent over to untie his feet, and it all happened so quick, but Amanda stood up and grabbed that bottle and bashed him over the back of the head with it. And the next thing I know John had reared up and was leaning back against the wall holding his head. And that’s when Larry looked at me and told me if I knew what was best for my children and wanted them to live, I would follow all instructions that were given to me from that moment on.”
Larry and Amanda McClure then tied up McGuire, she said. Larry McClure would sometimes stand on him, and Amanda accused him of being a federal informant, both yelling at him “and demanding to know who he was.”
McGuire kept pleading with them to stop.
“John kept telling them ‘you have the wrong person. I don’t know who you’re looking for, but you have the wrong person,’” Choudhary said.
“Giving them his Social Security number, begging, pleading with them.” Choudhary said Larry and Amanda kept blocking her way to keep her from leaving.
The torture and shouting continued until about 6 a.m. the following morning, the day after Valentine’s Day. McGuire was then taken to a bedroom and hogtied with a rope around his neck. Larry and Amanda told McGuire that they were going to give him sodium penthothal, which is also called truth serum, put him in the back of a truck and drive him back to Minnesota “and basically leave him there for everybody to find.”
Amanda then came out with two filled syringes. Choudhary said she did not know it at the time, but they were filled with the meth that Amanda had dubbed, “a bad batch.”
“They told me that since I was the one with the nursing experience, I was going to be the one to inject him,” she said. “And they gave me the syringes and instructed me to inject him into the carotid artery.”
“This is the day after Valentine’s?” Kornish asked.
“Yes, your honor,” Choudhary replied, saying again that she had been threatened and had been told that “my kids would end up paying for it.”
Choudhary said she did inject McGuire. They left the room and Amanda said, “Well, that should be enough to kill him.”
The meth had the opposite effect and ended up making McGuire “high and giving him strength,” she said. “They stood over me and told me I needed to finish it and needed to strangle him, so that’s what I did.”
Larry McClure stood on McGuire’s back while he was being strangled with the rope that was around his neck and his face was pushed “into the cushions.”
“You’re the one who strangled him?” Kornish inquired.
“Yes, your honor,” Choudhary replied. Amanda McClure sat near McGuire’s head and laughed, “asking him did he really believe he was going to end up back north?”
Choudhary said she was then told to collect McGuire’s belongings and put them on a bonfire that was being prepared. When she returned from doing that, she was told to wrap up the body and put it in a garbage bag because Larry McClure wanted to drop it down a mine shaft “where it wouldn’t be found.”
“Did you do that?” Kornish asked.
“Yes, I did,” Choudhary replied. “It’s not something I’ll ever forget because at that point in time, the body had become fully rigor mortis and in order to...” she paused. “I’m sorry. That’s not a sound I ever want to hear again.”
“You had to take him out of rigor to get him into the bag?” Kornish inquired.
“Yes, your honor,” she said. “They instructed me as to what to do and stood back and watched me do it.”
Choudhary said she was told to drag the body to where it could be loaded into Larry McClure’s pickup truck. Larry, Amanda McClure and Choudhary then drove around most of the day, but ended up returning to Skygusty. All three of them joined in digging a grave.
Larry and Amanda “went on like nothing happened” and “started having a relationship as soon as he was buried,” Choudhary said, adding they talked about future plans. Two weeks later, “Amanda insisted that she wanted proof that he was actually dead and had me uncover the body, and started ranting and raving about how she didn’t think he was actually dead because the hair on his head was still growing and everything.”
Larry McClure told Amanda that “he would make sure.” He took bed rails and a sledgehammer “and pounded them through the body and down into the ground,” she said.
Choudhary then described how incest entered the situation when, two weeks after McGuire’s death, they drove to Tazewell County, Va., where father and daughter Larry and Amanda McClure applied for a marriage license. Choudhary said that on March 11, 2019, all three went to Tazewell County for the ceremony.
“They took me and said I needed to act like a happy witness,” she stated
A criminal complaint filed by West Virginia State Police Trooper K.M. Saddler revealed that Larry and Amanda McClure had sexual intercourse at the Skygusty residence.
Plans were made to leave McDowell County and go to Kentucky, but Larry McClure wanted to landscape the Skygusty property to prepare it for sale, and there were fears that the body would be found by the new owners. The body was uncovered, dismembered, then reburied in two separate places.
This act was done “that very night they were married,” Choudhary said.
Choudhary said she later managed to get away from her father and sister, and went to North Carolina. There she heard that Larry McClure had been arrested.
Larry McClure was convicted of first-degree sexual assault in July 1998. His victim was a female between the age of 6 to 12. He served 17 and a half years in prison for the sex offense crime, according to the West Virginia State Police sex offender registry. Required to register with the West Virginia State Police as a sex offender, he was arrested on a registry offense and confessed about the Skygusty murder.
In a letter to McDowell court officials dated Nov. 4, 2019, Larry McClure confessed to the murder of McGuire and provided specifics of the crime. He wrote in detail of McGuire’s suffocation/strangulation death, and listed the roles that he and his two daughters played. He also stated he was willing to plead guilty/no contest to the crime.
During Choudhary’s plea hearing, Kornish asked about her role in the murder.
“So when you strangled John, you knew at the time that was wrong?” Kornish asked.
“Yes, your honor,” she replied. “But look at my other options. I didn’t feel that I had a choice.”
“And same question, you knew it was wrong to bury him and hide his body?” Kornish inquired.
“Yes, your honor,” Choudhary said.
“You knew it was wrong when you dug him up a second time? You dismembered him,” Kornish continued. “Correct? You knew that was wrong?”
“Yes, your honor,” she replied again.
Choudhary then pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, which carries a possible term of 10 to 40 years in prison.
“I’m going to accept your plea. There are sufficient facts to justify accepting your plea and finding you guilty of second-degree murder. More than enough, I might say,” Kornish stated.
Kornish ordered that a presentencing report be prepared and a date set for sentencing. McGuire’s mother, Karen Smith, of Opelika, Ala., who listened to the plea hearing, will be allowed to address the court along with Choudhary’s adoptive parents, Allen and Gwen Holm.
After accepting the plea, Kornish told the victim’s mother that given Choudhary’s background and her statements that she had been forced to participate in the murder, it would be difficult to know what kind of verdict a jury would hand down.
“I would tell Ms. Smith and the prosecutor that we never know what a jury is going to do,” Kornish said.
Choudhary was represented by attorney Thomas Evans. The state was represented by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Danny Morgan.
— Contact Greg Jordan at email@example.com