Man accused of killing New Castle woman, stuffing remains in suitcase agrees to plea deal

Anthony Dailey

NEW CASTLE, Ind. – A man accused of killing a 22-year-old New Castle woman and stuffing her remains in a suitcase has agreed to a plea deal.

Anthony Dailey faced charges of murder and abuse of a corpse in connection with the death of Kirsten Sidwell. The prosecutor dropped the corpse abuse charge last week.

Dailey pleaded guilty in court Thursday to voluntary manslaughter. The plea agreement calls for a 25-year prison term instead of the state minimum 55-year sentence for murder.

Sidwell’s father said the last time he saw his daughter alive was on the morning of March 31, 2015. He said he told her goodbye before she left for work that morning. He tried texting her later that day, but she never responded. His calls went straight to voicemail.

Police arrested Dailey a few days after a fisherman found Sidwell’s remains inside a suitcase in a northern Henry County pond on April 2, 2015. The Henry County coroner ruled that Sidwell died from asphyxiation by strangulation.

Dailey, who will turn 39 later this month, was an acquaintance of Sidwell’s. Court documents show he made incriminating statements to his sister, texting her that he “messed up” and later admitting to putting Sidwell’s body in a suitcase and dumping it in a pond.

He initially told police he’d known Sidwell for years but maintained they weren’t dating. Key evidence in the case included carpet fibers found with Sidwell’s body that matched the carpet in Dailey’s apartment, bedding in the apartment consistent with the colors and fibers of a blanket found with Sidwell and a blood smear on the baseboard of Dailey’s bed.

Dailey’s trial was originally set for July 15, 2015, but was pushed back several times with the latest trial date scheduled for next month.

Dailey’s sentencing hearing is set for 9 a.m. on April 19.