Morinville resident James Gary Urbaniak pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of his common-law wife in court Thursday.

Urbaniak was charged with second-degree murder after his common-law wife Jessica Martel was found dead in their home in Morinville in April of 2009.

Police said autopsy results confirmed Martel was a victim of a homicide, but wouldn't release the exact cause of her death.

Officers were called out to the couple's west-side home in Morinville on April 29th, and upon arrival, discovered the 26-year-old woman's body inside the home, along with Urbaniak, with undetermined injuries.

Friends said Martel's three children, all under the age of seven, were home at the time of incident and have been in the care of extended family.

At that time, Urbaniak's employer described him as a good employee and a nice guy. Urbaniak had been working at a local pet food manufacturer for close to seven years.

Urbaniak has been in police custody since May 5, 2009.

He is expected to be sentenced before the end of the year