Woman pleads guilty to role in death of 87-year-old for meds
JOPLIN, Mo. - A 28-year-old southwest Missouri woman has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the beating death of an 87-year-old man for his prescription medication.
The Joplin Globe reports Kelli Benefiel also pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary and armed criminal action in the December 2013 death of Carthage resident Raymond Ritchhart.
Benefiel accepted the same plea offer as her husband, 50-year-old Brian Benefiel. The couple admitted going to the home of the retired farmer and World War II veteran to steal prescription drugs.
Ritchhart was beaten with a wooden club the couple brought with him. Prosecutors say they ended up killing the man for 12 hydrocodone pills.
The defendant must serve 85 percent of the murder and burglary sentences, which in Missouri computes to about 25 years on the murder count.
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