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Associated Press, Published June 21 2012

Suspect enters Alford plea in ND officer killing

BISMARCK, N.D. — A man accused of killing a Bismarck police officer acknowledges that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict him of murder.

Fifty-two-year-old Steven Bannister on Thursday entered an Alford plea in the July 2011 death of Sgt. Steve Kenner. An Alford plea means a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges there is enough evidence to convict him.

The plea is treated as a conviction for sentencing purposes. Bannister could face life in prison without parole.

Authorities say Bannister shot and killed Kenner when the officer responded to a domestic disturbance call. Kenner was the first Bismarck police officer killed in the line of duty.

Another officer shot Bannister in the head. Defense attorney Steven Mottinger says Bannister suffered a stroke last summer and does not remember the incident.

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