NOTE: Initial information from the District Attorney’s office stated the defendant pleaded guilty.  Subsequent information from court documents states the plea is no contest. This story has been updated.   

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A Sedgwick, Kansas, man has pleaded guilty no contest to the murder and sexual assault of his domestic partner.

Forty-four-year-old Craig Johnston pleaded no contest to reckless second-degree murder, attempted rape, attempted aggravated criminal sodomy, and aggravated sexual battery. A judge entered a judgment of guilty.

An affidavit says that on Oct. 23, 2020, around 9:18 a.m., Sedgwick County Dispatch received a call from Johnston saying his wife was unresponsive in the basement of their house in northwest Sedgwick County.

When law enforcement and EMS arrived on the scene, they found Amber Slankard, 40, in the basement with “critical” injuries to her head and face. She was transported to a local hospital, where she died of her injuries.

According to the affidavit, Johnston admitted to sexually assaulting Slankard while she was unconscious.

Johnston told dispatchers that Slankard had fallen down the stairs of the house while he was gone getting cigarettes. He told law enforcement he wanted to take her to a hospital, but she did not want him to.

The affidavit says three days earlier, Johnston told detectives he and Slankard visited the home of “Rosie,” who was the last person other than Johnston to see her alive. Detectives talked to Rosie, and she told them Johnston “blacked out” and hit Slankard numerous times in the head.

After being confronted with the recording of Rosie’s conversation, he admitted to hitting Slankard over the head and in the face, stating, “I hit her four times as hard as I could to shut her up.”

Johnston is scheduled for sentencing on August 12.