updated 2/14/2009 2:48:56 PM ET 2009-02-14T19:48:56

A woman pleaded guilty to reckless homicide for exercising her 73-year-old husband to death in a swimming pool.

Police in Middlefield, Ohio, said surveillance video showed 41-year-old Christine Newton-John pulling James Mason around the pool by his arms and legs and preventing him from leaving.

Mason had a heart attack on June 2 after the extended swim session.

Newton-John pleaded guilty Thursday and faces up to five years in prison.

Police Chief Joseph Stehlik said he counted 43 times on the videotape in which Newton-John prevented her husband from leaving the water. He said Mason rested his head on the side of the pool several times while gasping for breath.

Stehlik says Mason's death was investigated because of previous complaints that he was abused.

Mason was a longtime friend of his wife's family. He knew her as John Vallandingham before she had gender reassignment surgery in 1993 and changed her name. They married in 2006.

Police did not immediately respond to a call Saturday seeking comment on a motive.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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