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Associated Press, Published December 01 2010

Man pleads guilty to Wishek murder

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A South Dakota man accused of killing a North Dakota man has pleaded guilty to a reduced murder charge in a deal with prosecutors.

The Bismarck Tribune says 27-year-old Nicholas Caspers pleaded guilty Tuesday to Class A felony murder in the death of 30-year-old Paul Varner.

Caspers will be sentenced after a presentence investigation is completed. A plea agreement calls for Caspers to be sentenced to six to 10 years in prison.

Caspers was an auctioneer who had worked previously for Varner's father, Joe Varner, who owns several sale barns in South Dakota, Minnesota and North Dakota, including Wishek Livestock Sales.

Authorities allege that Caspers went to Paul Varner's home in Wishek and punched him, and that broken bones in Varner's face caused him to suffocate. Caspers had claimed self-defense.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.