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Published June 25, 2012, 03:58 PM

Fergus Falls man pleads guilty in mother's machete death

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. (AP) — A western Minnesota man has pleaded guilty in a machete attack that killed his 68-year-old mother.

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. (AP) — A western Minnesota man has pleaded guilty in a machete attack that killed his 68-year-old mother.

James Howard of Dalton pleaded guilty Friday in Otter Tail County court to second-degree murder. Under a plea agreement, prosecutors will drop a first-degree murder charge.

KBRF-AM reports Howard agreed to serve more than 34 years in prison and pay restitution of more than $45,000. The prison sentence exceeds state sentencing guidelines because of aggravating factors.

Howard was charged with attacking his mother, Barbara Howard, with a machete in April 2011. She died two weeks later.

James Howard told paramedics he intended to kill his mother to end her suffering from cancer and diabetes.

A judge found him competent to stand trial. Sentencing is set for August.

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