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Las Vegas woman pleads guilty in 2015 stabbing death

A Las Vegas woman pleaded guilty Thursday to first-degree murder nearly four years after the slaying of an 84-year-old woman.

Margarita Balandova, now 32, faces a term of 20 to 50 years behind bars for the killing of Mary Luebeck. The sentencing hearing is set for August.

Luebeck’s body was found by her daughter in July 2015 inside a townhouse in the 3200 block of Opera Drive, police said. She had been stabbed more than 20 times in the head and neck.

Authorities have said Balandova broke through the home’s sliding glass door with a large rock, climbed inside and stabbed Luebeck numerous times after she confronted the attacker. Detectives said silver and gold coins, jewelry and a phone had been taken from the home.

Luebeck lived alone at the time. She and her husband, Karl, had moved to Las Vegas in 1987. Karl Luebeck died about a year before Mary Luebeck was slain.

The couple volunteered with Desert Sands Life Member Club, a Las Vegas affiliate of the Telephone Pioneers of America organization, her family told the Las Vegas Review-Journal after she died.

Balandova initially faced additional charges of robbery with a deadly weapon, home invasion and first-degree arson, though those counts were dropped in exchange for her plea.

Mary Luebeck’s neighbors, police said at the time, “expressed concern” about Balandova and her husband, Timothy Coleman.

When police questioned Coleman, he told them that he and Balandova were married and that she left their house after an argument the morning of the slaying. Coleman was not charged in the killing.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Find @randompoker on Twitter.

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