YORK COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) – Virginia Hayden, the York County grandmother accused of killing her husband and collecting his Social Security income, has been sentenced in his decade-old murder case.

According to court records, Virginia Hayden pled “Nolo Contendere” to murder of the third degree and tampering with public record/information. The plea means Hayden accepts conviction as though a guilty plea had been entered but did not admit guilt.

Prosecutors dismissed dozens of charges including forgery and conspiracy, for allegedly collecting more than $100,000 in Social Security benefits.

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Virginia Hayden will serve 6-20 years in prison with seven years probation and will receive credit for any time served.

Investigators ultimately arrested Virginia Hayden in her husband’s death after finding a vacuum-sealed bag with a scalp and bloodied bedsheet inside on the side of a Pennsylvania road. Those remains were later identified as Thomas. Investigators believe Thomas Hayden was killed between 2011 and 2021.

According to officials in 2019, an ATF trace revealed Virginia Hayden bought a .357 handgun in October 2011. She told police she sold the gun through a dealer, but there was no record of the transfer, according to the criminal complaint.

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During questioning about her husband’s whereabouts, police said Virginia Hayden told them “maybe you ought to check the grave of my second husband for him.” Thomas Hayden was Virginia Hayden’s third husband, the complaint states.

Investigators found no remains of Thomas Hayden at the grave or at the couple’s home.

KXAN in Texas reported Hayden’s grandchildren, Steven and Michael Harris, are possibly tied to their grandfather’s murder after search warrants were issued for their DNA earlier this year.