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Young couple get life in Nebraska killings

They shot two people during a farmhouse robbery. Charges against two other suspects are dropped.

March 20, 2007|From the Associated Press

PLATTSMOUTH, NEB. — The two Wisconsin residents who broke into a farmhouse 11 months ago and shot a couple to death were each sentenced Monday to consecutive life sentences in prison.

Authorities said that Gregory Fester, 20, and Jessica Reid, 18, broke into the house in rural Murdock on April 17 intending to commit robbery. They shot and killed Wayne and Sharmon Stock.

The two assailants, both of Horicon, Wis., had hoped to avoid an automatic life sentence by pleading guilty to reduced second-degree murder charges.

"This is about the sentence that has already been imposed on the victims and the victims' families," Cass County attorney Nathan Cox said in asking Judge Randall Rehmeier to sentence the two to consecutive life sentences.

Fester also was sentenced to an additional 10 to 20 years on a weapons charge.

Reid told a Wisconsin detective she shot and killed Wayne Stock, 58, after Fester shot him in the leg. She said she shot him above the right eye and Fester shot him again in the back of the head before shooting Sharmon Stock, 55, in the head.

As part of her plea deal, Reid agreed to testify against Fester.

Fester reached a plea agreement with prosecutors after the judge ruled that Fester would not face the death penalty because Cox had waited too long before filing to seek capital punishment.

Reid was ineligible for the death penalty because of her age at the time of the slayings.

Two days after Fester pleaded guilty, Reid did the same.

Fester and Reid were charged after two Nebraska cousins, Matthew Livers, 29, and Nick Sampson, 22, were arrested and charged in the slayings.

Charges against Livers and Sampson have been dropped. There was not enough evidence against Sampson, Cox said, and prosecutors agreed with defense attorneys that Livers' confession was unreliable and inconsistent with the evidence.

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