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Superior Murder Suspect Pleads Guilty

Updated: 08/04/2014 4:37 PM
Created: 08/04/2014 2:38 PM WDIO.com

Two weeks before a jury trial was scheduled to begin, a Superior murder suspect has changed his plea to guilty.

According to online court records, 42-year-old Juan Padilla pleaded guilty to first-degree intentional homicide during a hearing Monday.  A judge ordered a pre-sentence investigation and set sentencing for Oct. 13.

Padilla is accused of murdering 46-year-old Terrance Rodney Luukkonen of Duluth outside Luukkonen's workplace, Genesis Attachments, in May 2013.  Luukkonen was engaged to Padilla's ex-girlfriend.

The trial was originally scheduled to begin in May but was delayed due to new evidence.  At that time, Douglas County Attorney Dan Blank said a 'ping' on a cell tower from a phone believed to be Padilla's could place him in the city at the time of the murder.

Padilla's most recent address at the time of the murder was in Fort Mohave, Ariz.

Luukonen's family told Eyewitness News: "The family is relieved that we don't have to go through a trial. We think this agreement is a good thing."

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