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Flagstaff, Ariz. • A man charged in the 2010 death of a Utah sheriff's deputy has pleaded guilty to murder and other charges, avoiding a weeks-long trial and prosecution in a second case.
Scott Curley entered the plea Friday in Coconino County Superior Court to fatally shooting Kane County sheriff's Deputy Brian Harris, and to charges of burglary, theft and aggravated assault. Prosecutors agreed to drop a pornography case against Curley in exchange for the guilty pleas in the murder case.
"What we get out of this in the murder case is convictions for everything we were going to seek convictions on in the jury trial, and the opportunity to make arguments for maximum sentences with the court," said Coconino County Attorney Dave Rozema.
Allen Gerhardt, who oversees the county public defender office, declined to comment.
Rozema said his office never offered a plea agreement, but Curley's attorney brought forth a proposed agreement a week ago. Rozema said he agreed to it after consulting with Harris' widow and law enforcement officers from Kane County, who were in court Friday for a pre-trial and evidentiary hearing in the case.
Curley is set to be sentenced following a hearing on Oct. 18-19. The five-week trial had been scheduled to start on Oct. 9.
Harris, 41, was tracking Curley, who was wanted for burglary when he was ambushed in August 2010, authorities said. Following the shooting, Curley fled into the wilderness along the Arizona-Utah border. He was captured four days later near Kanab.