- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 4, 2015

PHOENIX (AP) - A 17-year-old Mesa boy has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the fatal beating of his mother during a dispute.

Michael Helms pleaded guilty Wednesday in Maricopa County Superior Court to second-degree murder and aggravated assault. He’ll be sentenced March 16 by Judge Bruce Cohen

Helms previously had pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and other charges in the Oct. 25, 2013 death of Tina Helms Spencer and a subsequent nonfatal attack on his stepfather.

Authorities have said Helms, then 16 years old, struck his mother with a frying pan and hammer, chocked her, dragged her body to a backyard shed and cleaned up the scene.

He also was accused of striking his stepfather with a frying pan and choking him. The stepfather managed to break free and call police.

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