By Associated Press - Wednesday, April 9, 2014

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A man pleaded guilty Wednesday to first-degree murder in the rape and beating death last summer of a 93-year-old Omaha woman, in a deal that spared him the death penalty.

Sergio Martinez-Perez, 20, entered the plea in Douglas County District Court and was immediately sentenced to life in prison. The public defender for Perez did not immediately return a message left Wednesday seeking comment.

Police said Perez broke into the south Omaha home that Louise Sollowin had lived in for 70 years in the early hours of July 21, and severely beat her and raped her. Sollowin had grown up in Omaha’s Little Italy community, where her family started Orsi’s Bakery.

Authorities believe Perez entered the home through an unlocked door. An officer who responded to the house said Perez was naked and passed out on top of Sollowin.

The attack left the elderly woman with skull fractures and multiple broken bones in her face, authorities have said. Sollowin died of her injuries three days after the attack.

Perez acknowledged assaulting and raping Sollowin, saying he was “angry with women” after being spurned by another woman and a night of drinking, prosecutors said. Perez, a Mexican national, had been working in Omaha as a roofer at the time of the attack, police said. Authorities have said Perez is in the U.S. illegally.

Perez initially was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree sexual assault and first-degree assault and burglary. All but the murder charge were later dropped, and prosecutors had planned to seek the death penalty until his plea Wednesday.

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