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Utah man pleads guilty to killing 5-year-old niece

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LOGAN, Utah (AP) — A Utah man has pleaded guilty to killing and sexually assaulting his 5-year-old niece.

Alex Whipple entered his guilty pleas to murder, kidnapping and rape Tuesday during a hearing in Logan, Utah. As part of the agreement, charges of obstruction of justice and desecration of a body were dismissed.

Police say he killed Elizabeth “Lizzy” Shelley on May 25, after his sister let him spend the night at the family home. Lizzy was missing for five days before her body was found in a heavily wooded area less than a block from her home.

The 21-year-old Whipple is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 24.

Prosecutors had previously agreed not to pursue the death penalty after Whipple gave his lawyer a map of where to find Lizzy’s body.

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