Delaware Supreme Court rejects appeal in spousal rape case

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware's Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a man sentenced to 24 years in prison for raping his wife, then trying to have her killed so she couldn't testify against him.

The court ruled late last week against 52-year-old Mark Bartell.

Authorities say Bartell raped his wife after a November 2015 argument. Then, while awaiting trial, he tried to hire other prison inmates to kill her.

He was convicted last year of second-degree rape, fourth-degree rape and criminal solicitation.

Bartell argued on appeal that the trial judge wrongly refused to hold a separate trial on the criminal solicitation charges, allowing prosecutors to unfairly impugn his character.

He also argued the judge should have declared a mistrial after witnesses injected inadmissible and prejudicial testimony about his past conduct.