An Iron Range man pleaded guilty to killing his former girlfriend with a shot from a deer rifle as she stood outside an American Legion club after dark with her new boyfriend.

John J. Plevell, 52, of Aurora, entered his plea to second-degree murder Tuesday in St. Louis County District Court. The county attorney's office said it will recommend a 35-year term during sentencing scheduled for Jan. 30.

Julie Ann Hildreth, 49, of nearby Babbitt, was shot from about 60 feet away well after dark as Plevell lay in wait outside the club on Nov. 8, 2015..

Plevell told investigators that he had dated Hildreth for about a year and a half and that the relationship had ended about three months before the shooting.

Hildreth had just stepped out of the Aurora American Legion to share a smoke with her new boyfriend when she was killed. The boyfriend said the shot sounded like it came from a deer rifle. A casing from a Hornady .30-06 shell, favored by deer hunters, was found nearby behind a shed and bushes.

A club patron told authorities that Plevell was angry about Hildreth having a new boyfriend and suggested "doing something" if he saw them that evening, the criminal complaint read.

Hildreth was employed as a nurse's aide at the Ely Bloomenson Community Hospital and later as a personal care attendant for her brother and nieces.

Paul Walsh