A southwest Missouri man has escaped a possible death penalty by pleading guilty to murdering a Carthage area couple in October, 2008. Darrne Winans had been to go on trial in May on first-degree murder charges in the deaths of Robert and Ellen Sheldon. He has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. A judge will decide his sentence, which will be somewhere between ten years and life, but will let him be eligible for parole a long time from now.

Winans’ co-defendant pleaded guilty last year and got life without parole, then killed himself in the Jasper County jail.