Alford agreement brings 32 years for girlfriend's death.
Four days after his initial guilty plea was rejected by a Ramsey County judge, Brent L. Lynch entered another plea Friday in the March death of his girlfriend, accepting a deal that will give him more prison time.
The key difference is that Lynch, 26, entered an Alford plea, meaning that he maintained his innocence while acknowledging that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him. His plea to second-degree intentional murder will bring a 32-year prison sentence.
"It was important to him," his attorney, Connie Iversen, said of the Alford plea.
Lynch, of St. Paul, appeared hesitant when he pleaded guilty on Monday to second-degree unintentional murder, which would have brought about 27 years in prison. That agreement required him to admit to intentionally assaulting Carolyn Leete, 32, which then led to her death.
Lynch said Monday that he carried Leete roughly into his house after a night of drinking, threw her into the entryway and pushed her twice. Judge Robyn Millenacker rejected that plea for a lack of evidence.
On Friday, prosecutor David Hunt said an autopsy showed that Leete, who also lived in St. Paul, suffered multiple cuts and bruises over her face, wrists, arms and upper body, a broken rib and nose and a cut in her spinal cord.
She suffered a severe brain injury that led to bleeding and her death, Hunt said.
Hunt outlined the state's evidence, but, unlike on Monday, Lynch did not have to testify to his actions the night of Leete's death. Accepting the plea meant he didn't have to face trial on two counts of second-degree murder, one unintentional and one intentional. Each carries up to 40 years in prison.
It also meant prosecutors will not convene a grand jury to consider bringing forward a first-degree murder charge.
Leete's family members declined to comment on Friday.