PITTSFIELD — The man who allegedly bludgeoned and stabbed his wife to death in North Adams following an argument on Jan. 5 has been indicted by a Berkshire grand jury on one count of murder.
Mark S. Steele-Knudslien, 47, entered a plea of not guilty to that charge at his arraignment before Judge John Agostini in Berkshire Superior Court Monday morning.
That transfers his case from Northern Berkshire District Court where he was first arraigned on the charge on Jan. 8.
Steele-Knudslien, of North Adams, continues to be held without the right to bail and is due back in court on July 24 for a pretrial hearing.
According to police and court documents, Steele-Knudslien went to the Adams Police Department telling them he'd "done something very bad," and later said he'd "snapped" and killed his wife, Christa, 42, by striking her in the head multiple times with a hammer and stabbing her in the back with a butcher knife.
Steele-Knudslien told police after she was dead, he cleaned up, went to a liquor store, bought vodka and beer and returned home and drank heavily in the kitchen while his wife's body was in the living room.
He told police he wrapped her body in a tarp and blanket and moved it into the basement, which is where she was found by police.
An autopsy determined Christa died from blood loss due to the stab wound, and that the multiple blunt-force traumas to her head were contributing factors in her demise.
Steele-Knudslien and his wife were together for about a year before getting married April 15, 2017. The date is tattooed on his right arm.
Christa, a transgender woman, founded the Miss Trans New England Pageant in 2009 and is believed to be the first trans person in the U.S. to have died by violence in 2018.
The penalty for a conviction of first-degree murder is life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Reach Bob Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter, and 413-496-6249.