A Lexington man pleaded guilty yesterday to murdering Mary Lou Sale, age 49, in her Lexington home in 1994. Craig Conkey, 42, of Lexington, pleaded guilty late yesterday to second degree murder and armed burglary today in Woburn Superior Court. He will be sentenced September 14 at 10 a.m. by Superior Court Judge Dianne Kottmyer.

A Lexington man pleaded guilty yesterday to murdering Mary Lou Sale, age 49, in her Lexington home in 1994.

Craig Conkey, 42, of Lexington, pleaded guilty late yesterday to second degree murder and armed burglary today in Woburn Superior Court.

He will be sentenced September 14 at 10 a.m. by Superior Court Judge Dianne Kottmyer.

“With this plea, the defendant has ultimately and definitively admitted his guilt for the brutal murder of Mary Lou Sale,” District Attorney Leone said in a statement. “The victim’s family has been forced to live through two trials and nearly 15 years of uncertainty. Today’s conviction brings this case to a close, demonstrating beyond any doubt that Craig Conkey and no one else was responsible for Mary Lou Sale’s murder.”

On Dec. 6, 1994, Sale's body was discovered on her bedroom floor in her home at 915 Massachusetts Ave. in Lexington. An autopsy conducted by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined the death to be a homicide caused by asphyxiation by ligature as well as multiple blunt force trauma about the head.

Massachusetts State Police and Lexington Police conducted an extensive investigation into the circumstances of her death. Conkey, who lived about four houses away from Sale, was interviewed by authorities and denied any knowledge of the victim, her home, or the circumstances of her death. He would deny any knowledge of the victim in a second interview as well.

Authorities were later able to match a fingerprint and palm print found in the victim’s home with the defendant. When confronted with the fact that the police had found “something” of his inside her home, the defendant made various statements incriminating himself in the murder of Sale, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Conkey was indicted Jan. 25, 1995 on charges of murder, armed burglary, and armed assault in a dwelling. He was found guilty by a Middlesex Superior Court jury on March 26, 1996, and sentenced to a term of life without parole.

On Aug. 27, 1999, the verdict was reversed by the Supreme Judicial Court and a new trial was ordered. On March 26, 2001, Conkey was again found guilty by a Middlesex Superior Court Jury on his first degree murder charges and ordered to a sentence of life without eligibility of parole.

On Jan. 19, 2005, a new trial was again ordered by the Supreme Judicial Court.