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Death penalty dropped in Missouri teen's death

  • Published Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, at 12:09 p.m.

— Prosecutors will no longer seek the death penalty against a southwest Missouri man who is charged with killing a classmate.

Prosecutors said Wednesday that they dropped the possibility of capital punishment after 20-year-old Gabriel Roche of Republic agreed to have his case decided by a judge, not a jury.

Roche is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the December 2011 death of 17-year-old Weston North. Roche took his classmate to a secluded area and stabbed him before slitting his throat.

Prosecutors say Roche believed Noth was a police informant.

The Springfield News-Leader reports Roche's attorneys didn't dispute that their client killed Noth. They asked the judge to consider charging him with second-degree murder, arguing that Roche was on drugs and hallucinating during the killing.

The Associated Press

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