Gering Murder

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Twenty-six-year-old Jeffery Hessler had filed a motion to plead guilty to four of the five charges against him - excluding a charge of premeditated murder.

Wednesday, District Court Judge Randall Lippstreu accepted a motion by the state to drop the felony murder charge Hessler wanted to plead guilty to. That made Hessler's guilty plea moot.

Jeff Pickens, Hessler's attorney, said Hessler only intended on pleading if a felony murder charge was brought.

Hessler's attorneys have said they are exercising strategies to help Hessler to avoid a death penalty sentence.

Pickens said Hessler does not intend on pleading to premeditated murder because it implies he committed murder with intent and malice.

Scottsbluff County Deputy Attorney Doug Warner said he dropped the felony murder charge in an effort to bring the case to a faster resolution.