Vicky Madore had kept silent, letting her husband take the rap.

EDMUNDSTON, New Brunswick (AP) – A woman who kept silent for months while her husband was accused of the hit-and-run traffic death of a young nurse from Maine shocked court spectators Wednesday when she pleaded guilty to the crime.

Vicky Murielle Madore, a 29-year-old mother of two from Saint John, is facing a possible life sentence after admitting she struck and killed Connie Bellefleur in Edmundston two summers ago.

The charge against Adam Wayne Fraser, 28, was dropped when his wife entered the surprise plea seven months after he was arrested, and 18 months after the fatal accident.

Madore, who is originally from Edmundston, left court on her own recognizance until her April 21 sentencing on a charge of failing to stop at the scene of a fatal accident.

Bellefleur, 23, of Portland, Maine, died after being struck by a car while crossing a street.

On vacation from her job at the Maine Medical Center in Portland, Bellefleur was struck at about 3 a.m. following an outdoor party held during the city’s Foire Brayonne music festival.

While it took police 11 months to make an arrest, they were led to the couple early on. The day after the accident, investigators seized the car at a Saint John residence occupied by Fraser and Madore.

The couple got married only six days after the collision. In Canada, the court can’t compel one spouse to testify against the other.

Crown prosecutor Pierre Roussel denied outside court that Fraser was charged in an attempt to weed out his spouse.

Roussel said new charges would not be brought against Fraser, adding that Madore’s plea was not part of any deal.

Bellefleur’s family expressed relief that the right person had taken responsibility.

“It was a relief to actually have her say “guilty,”‘ Robert Bellefleur, the victim’s father, said after the hearing.

“It would have been a lot easier if she had come forward sooner.”

The victim’s family will prepare victim-impact statements for Madore’s sentencing.

“It’s not like we’ve stood still over the last year and a half,” said Bellefleur, a resident of Madawaska, Maine.

“Our lives have progressed. We’ll continue to live our lives as best we can as we go along, but there’s always going to be that void.”

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