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Prosecutors unsure they could have proved Beal had intent to kill
By: WJAC-TV Web Staff
SOMERSET COUNTY, Pa. --
A day after a man pleaded guilty to killing his teenage girlfriend, many people are questioning why he is facing a light sentence.
Jonathan Beal, 24, is facing a maximum of 24 years in jail for pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse.
Beal admitted Wednesday to killing 19-year-old Justine Jackson during an argument last year. He said he moved Jackson's body to the Great Allegheny Passage outside of Meyersdale, where he buried her body in a shallow grave.
The Meyersdale teen's remains were found on Nov. 11, two months after she was killed.
Authorities said prosecutors agreed to a plea deal because they were not sure they would be able to prove Beal had an intent to kill.
Beal's public defender said Beal did not mean for Jackson to die when the couple starting fighting; he said Beal just wanted to end their relationship.
Beal is due in court at the end of November for his sentencing. Stay with 6 News and WJACTV.com for continuing coverage.