A Tucson, Ariz., man accused of fatally beating a gay man with a baseball bat has rejected a plea offer from prosecutors. David A. Higdon, 22, is charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery in the June 2002 beating death of Philip Walsted, 24. Police classified Walsted's murder as a hate crime.
During a hearing Thursday in Pima County superior court, prosecutors said they offered to let Higdon plead guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for serving a 22-year sentence in prison. After Higdon rejected the plea, his trial date was set for October 26. He faces a life sentence if convicted.