Murder Suspect Changes Plea to Guilty

, Posted: Fri, November 16 2012 at 6:39 PM, Updated: Fri, November 16 2012 at 7:07 PM

Jeffrey Wheeler admitted to killing his ex-girlfriend Jessica Starr Bethany last year and setting her apartment on fire.

The change to a guilty plea comes after more than a year and its not known why Wheeler changed his mind. His defense attorney isn't saying either. It may be because of a surprise witness who would have testified had he gone to trial. A witness that lead prosecutor says he talked to after committing the crime. He apparently had plans to leave town and asked how he could get a plane ticket not having an Oregon drivers license.

Wheeler pleaded guilty today to the murder and arson for setting the house on fire but plead no contest to abandoning the child they supposedly had together and no contest to abusing a corpse. He will likely spend a minimum of twenty five years for the murder, consecutive to the other charges. He hasn't been sentenced but should be sometime this month.

Nearby, friends and co-workers of Jessica Bethany say justice, in this case will never be enough to replace what he took away.

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