- Associated Press - Friday, October 3, 2014

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - A Central California man who told police his girlfriend committed suicide but later confessed to killing her three years ago has been sentenced to 21 years in prison.

The Fresno Bee reports (http://bit.ly/1yBZmN3) a shackled Charles Theodore Rector apologized to the family and friends of the victim before his sentencing Thursday in Superior Court.

The 56-year-old former Clovis resident said he drank a lot of alcohol and lied, and there is no excuse for his actions.

In order to avoid a trial, Rector pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of 44-year-old Christine Baker. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to a 21-year prison sentence and dropped a murder charge, which could have meant 40 years to life in prison, if convicted.

Baker was found inside an apartment with a bullet wound to her forehead.

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Information from: The Fresno Bee, http://www.fresnobee.com

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