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Man Pleads Guilty In Death Of D.C. Middle School Principal

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A District man has plead guilty to shooting D.C. middle school Principal Brian Betts to death in his Silver Spring, Md., home last April.

Police allege Alante Saunders and three others planned to rob Betts at his house after Saunders met the principal on a phone chat line. While on that chat line, Betts agreed to leave his house unlocked so that Saunders could enter.

Saunders plead guilty to shooting Betts during the robbery, but his attorney, David Felsen, says it was not his client's intention to shoot Betts.

"We believe that the evidence demonstrates that this was an accidental killing, but it was during the course of a robbery, therefore it's first-degree murder. And it was not my client's gun. That doesn't mean he didn't have the gun...it was not his gun," Felson says.

Saunders faces a likely sentence of 40 years in prison, with the possibility of parole in 20 years, when he is sentenced Nov. 23.

Betts' mother and sister were in attendance at the hearing, but withheld comment, saying they will speak after Saunders in sentenced.

WAMU 88.5

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