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Teen in Nevada classmate's killing pleads guilty to murder, will avoid death penalty
ELKO, Nev. (AP) ' One of two teens accused in the March 2011 slaying of a Nevada classmate has pleaded guilty in Elko to first-degree murder in a deal that will spare him the death penalty.
The Elko Daily Free Press reports 19-year-old Kody Cree Patten entered the plea Wednesday morning. He'd previously pleaded not guilty and was set for a July trial.
Patten and his then-girlfriend, Toni Fratto, were accused of the death of 16-year-old Micaela "Mickey" Costanzo.
Authorities say she was taken to a remote area near the Utah-Nevada border, where she was struck with a shovel and her throat was slit before she was buried in a shallow grave.
Fratto pleaded guilty to second-degree murder with a deadly weapon and was sentenced in April to up to life in prison.
Information from: Elko Daily Free Press, http://www.elkodaily.com