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Associated Press, Published June 07 2012

Man to plead guilty in Bismarck officer killing

BISMARCK, N.D. — A man accused of killing a Bismarck police officer will plead guilty to murder through an Alford plea.

The Bismarck Tribune reported the plea deal for 52-year-old Steven Bannister on Thursday.

In an Alford plea, a defendant admits there's enough evidence for a conviction but doesn't admit guilt.

Bannister was to stand trial in the killing last July of 56-year-old police Sgt. Steve Kenner, who was responding to a domestic disturbance call. Bannister had pleaded not guilty to murder and terrorizing.

Bannister's attorney, Steven Mottinger, participated in a telephone hearing on Thursday. Mottinger says Bannister had a stroke shortly after his arrest in Kenner's death and has little memory of the July incident.

A change of plea hearing will be scheduled for June 21.

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