FORSYTH, Mo. — A southern Missouri man who told investigators he was either sleepwalking or dreaming when he fatally shot his sleeping ex-wife has been sentenced to 30 years in jail for her death.

Taney County Prosecutor Jeffrey Merrell said that 74-year-old Eldon Ault, of Forsyth, was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years for second-degree murder and a concurrent term of 20 years for armed criminal action in the March 2017 death of Dianna Merritt.

Ault was charged with first-degree murder but entered an Alford plea to the lesser charges.

Investigators said deputies found 73-year-old Merritt dead in a bed from a gunshot wound.

Ault told authorities he sleeps with a loaded pistol under his pillow and the sound of the gunshot woke him up. He said he had no memory of shooting Merritt.

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