Dominique Lewis, accused in the 2008 slaying of 78-year-old Marilyn Hegge of Lexington, pleaded guilty Thursday to her murder.
Lewis and Hegge's granddaughter, Heather McGlothen, were set to go on trial for murder Aug. 1. Lewis told Fayette Circuit Judge Ernesto Scorsone that he beat Hegge to death and that McGlothen was not present when he killed Hegge.
As part of a plea deal with prosecutors, Lewis, 28, also pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary, tampering with physical evidence and fraudulent use of a credit card.
Prosecutors are recommending that Lewis serve life in prison without the possibility of parole on the murder charge, 20 years for burglary, one year for the tampering charge and three years for fraudulent use of a credit card.
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Also under the plea deal, Lewis will be available to testify against McGlothen.
Prosecutors had been seeking the death penalty for Lewis and McGlothen.
"We did this to save Dominique's life," public defender Tom Griffiths said.
"From the beginning of the case, Dominique admitted his role in what happened. In court, he expressed remorse and understands he now has to spend the rest of his life in prison in an effort to atone for what he did," Griffiths said.
Hegge was found bludgeoned to death in her bed at her home on Red River Drive on Nov. 30, 2008, her 78th birthday. Police have said they think Lewis conspired with McGlothen, 24, his girlfriend, to kill Hegge.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Cindy Rieker said the plea deal with Lewis has no bearing on the case against McGlothen.
She said prosecutors are still seeking the death penalty for McGlothen.
Lewis is to be formally sentenced July 14.