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Man Sentenced to Life for Murder of Christa Steele-Knudslien
05:50PM / Thursday, January 23, 2020

Participants in the Walk a Mile event in 2018 hold up signs for Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien. Her death, in which her husband was charged, sparked an ongoing conversation in the city about domestic violence and sexual assault.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The murderer of Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien will spend life in prison. 
 
Mark Steele-Knudslien, 49, pleaded guilty on Thursday in Berkshire Superior Court to second-degree murder in the death of his wife. Judge John Agostini sentenced him to life in state prison, with parole eligibility in 25 years.
 
Steele-Knudslien had killed Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, his wife of less than a year, on the evening of Jan. 4, 2018, in their North Adams home by stabbing her and striking her with a hammer. 
 
"I send my heartfelt condolences to those who loved Christa dearly and the entire transgender community who looked up to her as a leader," said District Attorney Andrea Harrington. "This is yet another horrific domestic violence homicide in the Berkshires. My office focuses on holding perpetrators of these crimes accountable and this sentence will keep a very dangerous person away from the community for years to come."
 
Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien was well known in the transgender community in the region. She was the first transgender person killed in 2018 and her death had helped spark awareness of the vulnerability of transgender people to violence and domestic violence in general. 
 
"I thank the Adams, North Adams, and Massachusetts State Police for their investigation which gave us the evidence we needed to secure this conviction and sentence," Harrington said. "We are holding the perpetrator accountable for his actions."
 
State Police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office, members of the North Adams and Adams police departments and State Police Crime Scene Services Section conducted the investigation.
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