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South Dakota man charged in 2013 death of girlfriend takes plea offer, avoiding murder charge
The Associated Press

Man charged in death of girlfriend takes plea offer

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — More than a decade the decomposing body of 38-year-old woman was found in the Black Hills of South Dakota, the boyfriend accused of her murder took a plea offer the day before trial.

Meshell Will was reported missing in August 2013. Richard Schmitz, 55, was arrested in 2021 and charged with second-degree murder.

On Tuesday, he entered an Alford plea to second-degree manslaughter, a felony with up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

An Alfred plea acknowledges the state has enough evidence to convict him while maintaining his innocence.

In exchange, the state agreed to drop the second-degree murder charge, which carries a mandatory life sentence.

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