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FARMINGTON, Utah (AP) -- Roger Martin MacGuire has pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and murder in the slaying of his pregnant ex-wife.
The plea bargain spares the 50-year-old Sunset man a potential death penalty.
MacGuire had been charged with two counts of aggravated murder in the Jan. 15, 2001, shooting death of Susan Lynn Christensen MacGuire and had been scheduled to go on trial on Sept. 7.
Instead, sentencing was set Tuesday for Oct. 21.
Prosecutors agreed to drop the death penalty and life without parole in exchange for the plea, said Bill McGuire, chief deputy Davis County attorney.
The victim's family understands the reasons behind the agreement, McGuire said.
Defense attorney Rich Mauro said his client agreed to the plea offered by the state "because he wanted to provide some closure for Sue's family members. He didn't want them to go through a trial and cause additional heartache."
The Utah Supreme Court ruled in January that MacGuire could be charged with two counts of aggravated murder for the deaths of the South Ogden woman and her 4-month-old fetus.
Defense attorneys unsuccessfully argued that the Utah's murder law was unconstitutionally vague in defining an "unborn child."
Two of the four shots fired in the hit the woman in the abdomen. Another struck the woman in the shoulder and the woman also was shot in the back of the head.
Prosecutors alleged that MacGuire deliberately shot at her abdomen because he was angry that she was pregnant with her new boyfriend's baby.
The shooting occurred at the Layton insurance agency where the woman worked.
The 1983 law that was challenged made it illegal to kill any person or unborn child. It did not specify at what point life began for an unborn child.
In 2002, the Legislature added an amendment to say that the 1983 law applied to a fetus at any stage of its development.
The Utah Supreme Court ruled that the amendment was sufficient.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)