10/17/2012 12:26 EDT | Updated 12/17/2012 05:12 EST

Guilty plea in rural Manitoba murder of pro wrestler known as the Croatian Giant

WINNIPEG - A Manitoba man has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the killing of a former pro wrestler who was known as the Croatian Giant.

Daniel Richard has admitted to his role in a murder-for-hire plot just days before his trial was to begin.

Ivan Radocaj (RADD'-oh-caj) was found beaten to death inside his rural Interlake home in 2007 only weeks after he married Melody Sanford.

Richard's male cousin, his aunt and Sanford were all convicted of first-degree murder at a lengthy trial last year.

A fifth man, Daniel Houle, also pleaded guilty.

Court heard Sanford arranged the killing, Richard and the two younger men carried out the beating and the aunt was involved in the conspiracy.

Richard is to be sentenced in November.

Radocaj, who was 43 when he died, had filed documents in August 2007 that claimed Sanford "tricked'' him into a fraudulent wedding because she was after his money.

He claimed Sanford threatened to send street gang members after him following their bitter breakup.

Sanford told police in a videotaped interview played at her trial that she had revenge on her mind when she planned Radocaj's death.

She claimed he had abused her daughter, but the daughter testified Radocaj never laid a hand on her.

(CJOB, The Canadian Press)