- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 6, 2014

PEVELY, Mo. (AP) - A 33-year-St. Louis County man has been convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to killing his girlfriend.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (bit.ly/1mnnjwi ) reports that Brian E. Smith was charged with hitting Heather Beckley of Pevely in the head with a hammer and leaving her in the woods near Imperial, where they had gone to make methamphetamine in December 2012.

He was sentenced Monday, the same day he pleaded guilty to the murder charge as well as armed criminal action.

Detectives initially sought charges of first-degree murder, but prosecutors instead issued the second-degree charge.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com

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