By Associated Press - Wednesday, October 7, 2020

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A 19-year-old man was sentenced to 42 years in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree murder in the 2017 shooting death of an Arkansas police officer, according to prosecutors.

Derrick Heard was 16 when he was accused of killing Newport Police Lt. Patrick Weatherford in June 2017, investigators said.

Weatherford pursued Heard while investigating a vehicle break-in in Newport, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northeast of Little Rock, police said. Heard was first on a bicycle then on foot when 41-year-old Weatherford caught him, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. Police say the officer was shot in the abdomen and died later that night in a hospital.

In addition to the first-degree murder charge, Heard on Tuesday also pleaded guilty to attempted capital murder, breaking and entering, theft of property and possession of a handgun, Prosecuting Attorney Henry Boyce said in a news release.

Circuit Judge Harold S. Erwin sentenced Heard to 24 years in prison on each murder charge and ordered them to run concurrently. He was sentenced to a total of 18 years for the other charges.

Heard initially pleaded not guilty, and his trial as an adult was set to begin Nov. 2.

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