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Plea Deal Reached for Man Who Murdered Girlfriend Last October

Plea Deal Reached for Man Who Murdered Girlfriend Last October

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Sam Penrod Reporting A man who shot and killed his estranged wife in the back as she ran away from him admitted today in court that he is guilty of murder.

The brutal crime happened on the evening of October 16 of last year. That's when police say that Keith Morton became violent with his live-in girlfriend, Tonya Nash.

What made things worse is that the victim's two young sons watched as their mother was gunned down. One of Nash's sons was on with 911 and other son was running right in front of her when Morton started shooting.

It was keeping those two young boys who were traumatized from the shooting from having to testify at a trial that led to today's plea deal. It eliminates the possibility of the death penalty and leaves just a small possibility the shooter will ever get out of prison.

Donna Kelly, prosecutor: "He could have the possibility of being released in his lifetime, but the odds are he won't be released."

It was especially brutal because after she had been shot, Morton took the butt of the shotgun and then repeatedly hit her in the head, disfiguring her face.

Donna Kelly, prosecutor: "There was a fight that began in the house. She left the residence and sat outside to try and diffuse the violence, but he pursued her with a gun and shot her twice in the back."

Morton went back into his house and later surrendered to police. He had no previous criminal history, except domestic violence involving the victim.

As part of the plea deal, Morton faces a sentence of 20 years to life in prison, with the possibility of parole. However in Utah's prison system, only eight percent of inmates guilty of aggravated murder are ever released in their lifetime, so it is very unlikely Morton will ever get out. He won't even get a parole hearing for at least 25 years.

The victim's two sons are now living out of state and are getting counseling.

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