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The Latest: Man gets life in 1998 killing of video clerk

Updated: August 23, 2019 01:01 PM

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - The Latest on the sentencing of a Montana man who admitted killing a teenage clerk at a video store in 1998. (all times local):

11:55 a.m.

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A Montana man whose confessions to a 1998 murder were initially met with disbelief has been sentenced to life in prison.

State District Judge Jessica Fehr sentenced 39-year old Zachary David O'Neill on Friday in the slaying of 18-year-old Miranda Fenner and the rape and attempted murder of a second victim during the same time period.

The victims in both cases had their throats slashed by the admitted drug addict and petty criminal.

O'Neill had confessed to Fenner's slaying as early as 2016 while at a psychiatric hospital in Spokane, Washington.

Authorities said he also made false claims that undermined his credibility. 

O'Neill walked into the Yellowstone County jail about a year later and confessed again, this time offering details that investigators used to eventually corroborate his guilt.

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11:15 p.m.

A man whose confessions to the 1998 murder of a Montana video store clerk were initially met with skepticism from authorities is now facing life in prison.

Zachary David O'Neill was due to appear Friday in state district court in the murder of 18-year-old Miranda Fenner and the rape and attempted murder of a second woman.

The 39-year-old pleaded guilty last month under a deal between prosecutors and the defense that calls for him to receive a life sentence.

O'Neill confessed to Fenner's slaying as early as 2016 while at a psychiatric hospital in Spokane, Washington.

Authorities said he also made false claims that undermined his credibility.

Court documents show investigators continued to pursue other potential suspects until O'Neill again confessed in 2017 with details that corroborated his guilt.

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(Copyright 2019 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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