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Illinois Man Pleads Guilty to Murdering Niece: An Illinois man agreed to plead guilty to first-degree murder for his role in the death of his 7-year-old niece.  Paul Donnelley of the Daily Mail reports that 22-year-old Justin DeRyke was babysitting the girl late last year when he claims that she pierced her neck after falling onto a pile of sticks, so in order to 'put her out of her misery', DeRyke slit the child's throat and stabbed her in the heart five times before wrapping her body in plastic bags and dumping her outside.  As part of the plea deal, other charges against DeRyke were dismissed, and he will be sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison.  

Convicted Rapist-Murderer Sentenced to Life: A Michigan man has been sentenced to life in prison without parole after being convicted of the rape and murder of Jennifer Phillips.  John S. Hausman of M Live reports that the man responsible, 36-year-old Christopher Wallace, was a repeat rapist with prior convictions for sexual assault.  Along with the life sentence, Wallace will serve a separate but concurrent sentence for a cold-case rape he was found guilty of committing in 2005.

LA House Backs Expansion of Death Penalty: A Louisiana House committee has voted in favor of advancing legislation that would expand the application of the death penalty.  Michelle Millhollon of The Advocate reports that House Bill 278 would make the killing of any prison employee a capital crime punishable by death.  Presently, Louisiana law considers the murders of firemen, peace officers, young children and the elderly as capital crimes.

  

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