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Colorado man pleads guilty to three murder counts in Walmart shooting

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A man accused of fatally shooting three people inside a Denver-area Walmart pleaded guilty on Wednesday to multiple counts of murder in the deaths, under a deal that allows him to avoid execution, prosecutors said.

Scott Allen Ostrem, 48, admitted in Adams County District Court to killing Pamela Marques, 52, Carlos Moreno, 66, and Victor Vasquez, 26, in the Denver suburb of Thornton, District Attorney Dave Young said in a statement.

Ostrem strolled into the crowded Walmart with a handgun on Nov. 1, 2017, and killed the three people as they stood in a checkout lane, police said. 

No one else was struck by gunfire.

Ostrem fled the store and was arrested outside his apartment the next day after police identified him and his car from images captured by security cameras.

No motive for the shootings was ever presented in court.

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Ostrem pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. He had initially been charged with other counts of attempted murder for the shooting inside the packed store, but prosecutors dropped all but one count of that charge in the plea deal.

Ostrem’s court-appointed attorneys declined to comment on the guilty pleas.

The shooting at the Denver-area Walmart was one of 30 “active shooter” incidents in 2017, according to a report from the FBI.

A series of similar attacks, in which a shooter targets people in a public place, has fueled a long-running debate in the United States between supporters of tougher controls on firearms and advocates for gun rights, which are protected by the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.

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Ostrem faces a mandatory life sentence because Colorado law does not allow parole for anyone convicted of first-degree murder.

Young said he consulted with the victims’ families before taking the death penalty off the table.

Adams County District Judge Mark Warner has set an Oct. 19 sentencing date, when those families will be allowed to describe how the shooting upended their lives.

In January, Warner ordered Ostrem, who has been held without bond since his arrest, to undergo a competency examination after Ostrem expressed a desire to fire his lawyers.

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In April, the state mental hospital deemed him mentally fit to stand trial.

Reporting by Keith Coffman; Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Peter Cooney

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Record plunge in manufacturing for New York region: NY Fed

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Manufacturing activity in New York State took a record dive this month and fell into contraction, suddenly reversing recent gains, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported Monday.

The surprising drop was another worrying sign for the US manufacturing sector, a day ahead of the start of a Federal Reserve meeting that comes as markets clamor for signs the central bank will cut interest rates soon to preserve economic growth.

Manufacturing has been a weak spot for the American economy this year as global demand slows and President Donald Trump pursues a multi-front trade war with some of America's largest trading partners.

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Egypt’s ousted President Mohammed Morsi collapses and dies in court, state TV says

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Mohammed Morsi, the former Egyptian president who was ousted by the military in 2013, has died after collapsing in court, state TV said on Monday.

Egypt's public broadcaster said the 67-year-old former president was attending a session in his trial on espionage charges when he blacked out and then died. His body was taken to a hospital, it said.

Morsi, who hailed from Egypt's largest Islamist group, the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, was elected president in 2012 in the country's first free elections following the ouster the year before of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.

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NBC SCOTUS reporter Pete Williams: ‘I don’t know what the Court wins’ in anti-gay Sweetcakes case ‘except time’

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NBC News' Pete Williams has won three national news Emmy awards. He has a reputation for offering very factual reports with little to no personal opinion. Williams for decades has primarily covered the U.S. Supreme Court and Justice Department.

Monday morning on MSNBC Williams gave his report on the Supreme Court's order in the "Sweetcakes" case, involving an Oregon Christian couple who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The case is exceptionally more complicated than that – including alleged doxxing of the same-sex couple and the subsequent death threats they say they received.

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