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Reno man accepts plea deal in Texas murder case

28-year old Steven LaRue pleaded guilty Thursday to murder in the shooting death of 27-year old Trey Harvey last August. LaRue accepted a plea deal of 20 years in prison.

"It was an offer he couldn't refuse." said defense attorney Dave Turner.

After a week of emotional testimony, 12 jurors deliberated for five hours, but weren't able to reach a unanimous decision. Two jurors felt LaRue was guilty of manslaughter. Judge Eric Clifford declared a mistrial, but soon after the defense reached a plea bargain with prosecutors.

"With 10 people thinking he was guilty of murder, a retrial was a gamble that he just simply could not take." said Turner.

Harvey's family wasn't pleased with the outcome.

"If it were left up to me, he would of gotten the death penalty." said Trey Harvey's Aunt, Tanya Johnson. "I'm not happy, but at least he's gone, gone for awhile."

Prosecutors say LaRue went over to the house where Trey Harvey was living with his mother. They say LaRue expected to find his ex-wife and child and planned to take photos of the boy at the house in the presence of a felon to help LaRue gain custody of the boy.

Prosecutors say outside the house, LaRue argued with Harvey's mother and ended up in a scuffle with Harvey, before shooting him. LaRue faced life in prison for murder but with Thursday's plea. He'll now be eligible for parole after 10 years of his 20 year sentence.

Harvey's family didn't get the outcome they would of liked, but they feel better knowing LaRue will be behind bars.

"For the time being I feel good, I feel safe. I didn't before." said Johnson.

LaRue will be held in the Lamar County jail until he is transferred into the Texas State Penitentiary System. He'll receive 9 months credit for time served.


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