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Man accused of killing deputy, 2 others takes plea deal

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas man has been sentenced to life in prison without parole after pleading guilty to killing a sheriff’s deputy and two other people last month.

Little Rock television station KATV reports James Arthur Bowden was sentenced Friday after taking a plea deal to avoid the death penalty.

Bowden was accused in the killings of Yell County Sheriff’s Deputy Lt. Kevin Mainhart, 61-year-old Rita Miller and 17-year-old Ciera Miller. Family members have said the Millers were relatives of Bowden’s girlfriend.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports Bowden addressed the families of the three people killed in court Friday.

“I’m really sorry about what happened,” Bowden said. “I can’t be forgiven, so I won’t ask.”

According to an affidavit, authorities accused Bowden of shooting Mainhart during a traffic stop, then killing Rita Miller and Ciera Miller at a nearby home about 65 miles (105 kilometers) west of Little Rock.

Bowden surrendered to police after an hours-long standoff at a house near Dardanelle, in which he was accused of holding his girlfriend hostage. The woman was eventually let go.

Bowden’s sister, Julie Inmon, previously told The Associated Press after the shootings that her brother was mentally ill and that she spoke to her brother by phone during the standoff. She said her brother has taken anti-psychotic medication and anti-depressants for his mental illness in the past.

Authorities have not confirmed that.

Mainhart was an officer in Yell County for five years and had previously worked for the West Memphis Police Department for more than 20 years. He is the first of two Arkansas police officers to be killed in the line of duty this year.

Newport Police Lt. Patrick Weatherford was fatally shot earlier this month while investigating a break-in in Newport, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northeast of Little Rock.

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