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Martin man who pleaded no contest to 2012 beating death sentenced to 48 years in prison

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MARTIN, South Dakota — A Martin man who pleaded no contest to charges that he bludgeoned a man to death as a teenager was sentenced to 48 years in prison on Friday.

Twenty-year-old Matthew Libby pleaded no contest in January to charges of second-degree murder in the death of 48-year-old Albert Apple. Sixth Circuit Judge Kathleen Trandahl suspended 21 years of Libby's term on Friday, reported the Rapid City Journal (http://bit.ly/18osVG6 ).

Authorities say Libby, who was 17 at the time, was drinking at a November 2012 party before he encountered Apple. They say the teen drove Apple out of town to where he hit and kicked him. Apple's body was found in a ditch and an autopsy showed that he died from severe blunt force trauma to his head. Evidence found at the scene connected Libby to the murder, according to court documents.

Bennett County State's Attorney Ken Orrock has said that Libby has no recollection of the events that led to the death of Apple. He was 17 when a grand jury indicted him on charges of first-degree murder, robbery and burglary. His attorneys sought to move the case to juvenile court, but Trandahl rejected the request.

The first-degree murder charge, along with robbery and burglary, were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

Libby will become eligible for parole in 13 ½ years.

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