- Associated Press - Friday, September 25, 2015

BRIGHTON, Colo. (AP) - A man faces 48 years in prison after pleading guilty Friday to killing a Pueblo woman who disappeared last year and whose body has never been found.

Christopher Adam Waide, 24, of Westminster entered the plea to second-degree murder in the death of Lea Porter, 19, under a plea deal that Porter’s family opposed. Prosecutors dropped charges of first-degree murder and tampering with evidence.

Investigators have said Waide and Porter attended the same Fremont County high school and had reconnected on Facebook before she was reported missing June 5, 2014.

Waide was arrested a week later and allegedly told investigators he put Porter’s body in a dumpster. A landfill in Westminster was searched for more than 40 days. Porter’s cellphone and some clothing were discovered there, but her body was never found.

In court Friday, Porter’s mother, Rene Jackson, said she objected to dismissing the tampering charge since her daughter’s body was part of the evidence. She also thought her daughter would object to a deal, KCNC-TV reported (https://cbsloc.al/1Fyw1XW ).

“I truly believe that she would not like this, what’s happening,” Jackson said. “I think that she fought so that he couldn’t do that to anybody again.”

District Attorney Dave Young said Porter’s family supported the deal earlier and raised objections later, but he encouraged them to make them known to the judge.

“I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a 19-year-old daughter and on top of that not knowing where her body is,” he said.

Young said not having a body could have led Waide to be convicted of a lesser charge or even acquitted.

The deal requires that Waide be sentenced to 48 years in prison, the maximum for a second-degree murder conviction, but a judge still must formally sentence him Nov. 6. If the judge rejects the deal, Waide will be tried for first-degree murder instead, Young said.

Under the deal, Waide also pleaded guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of a child for more than 20 pornographic images found on his computer during the investigation into Porter’s death.

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