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The Elko Daily Free Press reports Kody Cree Patten, 19, said he understood the plea bargain he was making at the Wednesday morning court hearing in Elko, but he didn’t discuss details about the killing of Micaela “Mickey” Costanzo, 16. He’d previously pleaded not guilty and was set for a July trial.

“It was the sensible thing to do,” lawyer John Ohlson said about the agreement reached last week, adding that if some of the details about the killing came out at trial, “it would be difficult to avoid the death penalty.”

At his sentencing, set for July 31, he could receive life in prison with parole, life in prison without parole, or 50 years in prison with the possibility of parole. He could be given an additional 1 to 20 years on his sentence for the use of a deadly weapon.

Patten and Toni Fratto, his girlfriend at the time, were accused in the death of Costanzo, who was taken to a remote area near the Utah-Nevada border after track practice at West Wendover High School on March 3, 2011.

Authorities said Costanzo was struck in the head with a shovel and her throat was slit before she was buried in a shallow grave.


Panel OKs Pebble Beach area development

SAN FRANCISCO — After decades of environmental fights, California’s chief coastal regulator approved a scaled-back development plan by a Clint Eastwood-backed group on a swath of prime real estate covered by rare Monterey pines.

The California Coastal Commission made the decision Wednesday involving the proposal by Pebble Beach Co. to build 90 homes in Monterey County’s Del Monte Forest.

The proposal also called for preserving 635 acres of native forest and improving public access to the breathtaking site.

The project is vastly smaller than one Mr. Eastwood and his partners golf legend Arnold Palmer and former baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth initially put forward.

That plan included an 18-hole golf course, revamped polo fields and 100 new mansions near the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links.

The commission voted that down in 2007, leading to the much smaller plan.

From wire dispatches and staff reports