- Associated Press - Thursday, August 20, 2015

CARTHAGE, Mo. (AP) - A 50-year-old southwest Missouri man pleaded guilty to beating and stabbing an elderly man to death while trying to steal prescription drugs.

Brian Benefiel was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison with a chance of parole after pleading guilty to second-degree murder and other charges in the death of 87-year-old Raymond Ritchhart.

The Joplin Globe reports (https://bit.ly/1gYnUse ) Benefiel had faced a first-degree murder charge in the December 2013 killing of Ritchhart, who suffered from cancer.

Prosecutors say Benefiel’s wife had done some housekeeping for Ritchhart. She accompanied her husband to the house to steal prescription drugs. The couple left with 12 hydrocodone tablets.

Kelli Benefiel, who is charged with first-degree murder, burglary and armed criminal action, has a hearing set for Sept. 11.

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Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, https://www.joplinglobe.com

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