CENTRAL ISLIP - The man accused of killing and trying to dismember his childhood friend has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. News 12 Long Island has learned the plea was part of a deal with the district attorney.
Aston Barth is accused of killing of his neighbor Jason Campbell and hiding his body in a closet in 2012.
Prosecutors say Barth, 40, admitted to choking Campbell during an argument. They say after Campbell died, Barth tried to dismember his body with an ax.
A medical examiner determined that Campbell's cause of death was an ax wound to the neck.
Authorities say he stashed the body in his bedroom closet for a week before it was discovered. All the while, they say Barth was going to work as a cook in a restaurant and telling friends that he had no idea what had happened to Campbell.
Barth also has a lengthy criminal history.
News 12 covered a story on Barth in 2007 when he was arrested for a bank robbery while dressed as a woman. Barth was paroled three months before the murder happened.
Barth's mother tells News 12 her son has been battling mental illness since he was a child.
Barth is expected to receive 15 to life in prison when he is sentenced on Feb. 26. The plea came as the trial was getting underway.