Woman admits to murder of ex-boyfriend’s love interest

Theresa Petto's mug shot. (June 24, 2015)
Theresa Petto's mug shot. (June 24, 2015)

PORTAGE, Mich. (WOOD) — It took two tries, but a Portage woman has ended her murder trial early by entering a plea.

Theresa Petto pleaded guilty but mentally ill Thursday to felony murder in the shooting death of 25-year-old Rachel Drafta.

The Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office said Petto was expected to enter the plea earlier in the day, but when it came time to do so in front of the judge, she couldn’t get the words out of her mouth, so the trial continued.

On June 24, 2015, Drafta was found outside her home in the 2900 block of French Bay with a gunshot wound to the head. She later died from her injuries at the hospital.

Witnesses told police that Drafta and the suspect were arguing in the driveway before the shooting. Petto was apparently upset because Drafta was dating her former boyfriend.

Petto was found walking down the street near the victim’s home and arrested soon after the shooting. A handgun registered to her was found tossed under a travel trailer.

Petto faces mandatory life in prison without parole when she’s sentenced. The Michigan Department of Corrections will decide what kind of mental health treatment is appropriate for her.

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