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Two plead guilty to murder in informant killing

DALLAS, Ore. (AP) — Prosecutors in Polk County, Oregon, say two men have pleaded guilty to murder and been sentenced to life in prison for their roles in the kidnapping and killing of a police informant last December.

District Attorney Aaron Felton says Jimmy Fears and Zackery Mersch entered their pleas Wednesday in the death of James Hawkes, Jr.

They will be eligible for parole in 25 years.

The men were originally indicted on aggravated murder charges.

According to court papers, Hawkes was working as a confidential informant when he approached Fears in a controlled drug buy overseen by the Polk County Inter-Agency Narcotics Team.

Prosecutors alleged the two men confronted and killed Hawkes after they found out he was an informant, dumping his body in a cemetery. Hawkes' body was found last Dec. 29.


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