OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) - An Opelika man who shot his estranged wife to death in a parking lot in 2003, then turned the gun on himself and was shot by police, avoided a possible death sentence when he pleaded guilty to murder.
Ronald Greer reached a plea agreement with prosecutors yesterday after more than four years and numerous competency hearings.
Greer was sentenced to life in prison with a chance for parole.
Lee County District Attorney Nick Abbett said the family of the victim, 33-year-old Callie Greer, agreed with the plea deal.
Greer was originally charged with capital murder in the June 3rd, 2003 shooting, a charge that could have brought a death sentence or life in prison without parole if convicted.
Abbett says Greer probably won't be eligible for parole for at least 15 years, but Abbett doubts that the parole board would release him because of the severity of his crime. Greer had a history of domestic violence against his wife.
The shooting happened in the parking lot of the Royal Federal Credit Union in Opelika. An Opelika police officer heard gunshots while at the bank on personal business. Abbett said Greer was shot by the officer, and then turned the gun on himself, shooting himself in the head.
Abbett said it took so many years to resolve the case because Greer claimed he was unfit to stand trial because of the extensive brain damage he suffered from the self-inflicted gunshot wound.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)