Colorado man pleads guilty to oil patch murder

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

SIDNEY, Mont. (AP) — A Colorado man has pleaded guilty to the 2012 murder of a Montana teacher in an oil boom town where residents say their lives were forever altered by the crime.

Montana District Judge Richard Simonton on Wednesday accepted the guilty plea from Michael Keith Spell on a count of deliberate homicide. A charge of attempted kidnapping was dropped under a plea agreement.

Prosecutors are recommending a 100-year sentence. They want Spell to serve his time in prison.

Attorneys for Spell want the mentally disabled 25-year-old from Parachute, Colorado, committed to a state institution for the disabled.

Spell admitted that he and an accomplice killed Sherry Arnold during an attempted abduction as the 43-year-old Sidney High School math teacher was out for a pre-dawn jog. The accomplice pleaded guilty last year and is awaiting sentencing.