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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama man pleaded guilty to killing his roommate with an ax just before the trial against him was set to begin.

Randal Wayne Beard, 59, was sentenced Monday to life in prison, news outlets reported. Robert Bezotte, 63, was struck more than 40 times with an ax in 2017, Madison County Chief Trial Attorney Tim Gann said.

Beard had been charged with capital murder because authorities said he attempted to rob Bezotte of guns, a safe and medication in addition to the killing, according to news outlets. As a part of the plea deal, Beard pleaded guilty to murder and gave up his right to appeal.

"The nature of this case was extremely brutal," Gann said. "The (plea deal) was in the interest of the family and everybody in the system."

Authorities said Beard killed Bezotte during an argument over $40 Beard owed for rent, AL.com reported.

"He acknowledges that his actions went too far," defense attorney Larry Marsili said in a statement to AL.com. "...we truly believed his state of mind, due to alcohol and valium consumption, greatly affected his ability to reason during the heated exchange with his roommate."

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