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By JoEllen Black and David Knopf/Richmond News
The central defendant in the May 2012 murder of a Richmond woman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Friday and awaits sentencing.
Brandon Scott Simpson, 26, of Richmond accepted a plea agreement in which a first-degree murder charge was dropped to second-degree murder in the strangulation death of Michelle Rhueport, 40. Clay County Circuit Judge Larry Dale Harman accepted Simpson’s plea of guilty Friday at Ray County 8th Circuit Court in Richmond.
Simpson was scheduled to go to trial Oct. 28 in Carroll County after being granted a change of venue from Ray County.
In the plea agreement, Simpson accepted a sentence recommendation of 25 years in prison to run to run concurrently with a Clay County probation violation from 2010 convictions for felonious restraint and third-degree assault charges. Under the agreement, all other Ray County charges against Simpson in the Rheuport case would also be dismissed. However, Harman is not bound to the sentence recommendation. Second-degree murder sentencing ranges from 10 years to life, which is 30 years in Missouri.