Idaho Falls
65° F

Sparks Charged With First-Degree Murder In Wife's Death

Published On: Jan 10 2013 02:39:28 PM CST   Updated On: May 06 2011 11:31:32 AM CDT

Pocatello police have charged the man who they said killed his wife on Monday night.

In a news conference, the Bannock County Prosecutor's Office said Michael Lane Sparks was charged with first-degree murder, and that the murder was premeditated.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Vic Pearson said Sparks beat Judith Johnson in the head and body with a rifle and baseball bat.

Sparks was arraigned Thursday afternoon and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for May 19th.

At the news conference, Pocatello Police Chief JR Miller said this death should serve as a wake-up call to the area's growing problem with domestic abuse.

"What I would like to bring to your attention is not just the heinous act of this crime, this woman being bludgeoned to death in front of her children at her residence, but about the domestic violence issues we're seeing in our community," Miller said.

Police first responded to a domestic violence call on Monday where they found Johnson beaten to death.

Sparks tried to get away from police, but rolled his car in the process on Buckskin Road, police said.