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Man pleads guilty
in killing of Iowa gay man

Man pleads guilty
in killing of Iowa gay man

A former New Mexico man has entered a plea to second-degree murder in the beating death of a gay Iowa man. Joseph Michael Lawrence, 23, entered an Alford plea Friday in Black Hawk County district court in Waterloo, Iowa. The plea does not mean he admitted guilt but indicated he believed that he could be convicted if the matter were taken to trial.

Lawrence had been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jason Edwin Gage, 29. Authorities said Lawrence admitted beating and stabbing Gage with a piece of glass at Gage's Waterloo apartment on March 12. They say Lawrence later told his girlfriend that he assaulted Gage after Gage, who was openly gay, made sexual advances. Gage's body was found two days later.

Lawrence was sentenced to 50 years in prison. He must serve 35 years before being eligible for parole. He waived his rights to appeal and must pay a $150,000 civil penalty to the Gage estate. Lawrence did not comment at the plea hearing. (AP)

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