Death Penalty Dropped in SW Mo. Teen's Death
SPRINGFIELD (AP) - Prosecutors will no longer seek the death penalty against a southwest Missouri man who is charged with killing a classmate.
Prosecutors said Wednesday that they dropped the possibility of capital punishment after 20-year-old Gabriel Roche of Republic agreed to have his case decided by a judge, not a jury.
Roche is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the December 2011 death of 17-year-old Weston North. Roche took his classmate to a secluded area and stabbed him before slitting his throat.
Prosecutors say Roche believed North was a police informant.
The Springfield News-Leader reports Roche's attorneys didn't dispute that their client killed North. They asked the judge to consider charging him with second-degree murder, arguing that Roche was on drugs and hallucinating during the killing.
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