Man pleads guilty to killing married couple in SW Minnesota

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A man accused of killing a married couple at their southwest Minnesota farmhouse during a burglary and burning down the house to hide evidence pleaded guilty to first-degree murder charges, Marshall Radio reports.

Derek Hexum, 21, said he blacked out and didn't remember shooting 71-year-old Catherine Hively and her 75-year-old husband James in April of 2015, according to the station.

Hexum was indicted by grand jury last week, leading to first-degree murder charges.

Hexum had actually tried to plead guilty last month, when the charges were for second-degree murder – but KEYC reported a Lyon County judge rejected it because the county attorney was waiting for an indictment on first-degree murder charges.

Two other men – Theodore Como and Kyle Wesslink – were also arrested and charged in connection with the incident. The have both pleaded guilty.

According to the criminal complaint, Como told police he waited outside while Hexum went into the Hively’s residence with a shotgun, then heard four or five shots and a scream. They returned the next day to destroy evidence – Hexum lighting the house on fire, while Como started the garage ablaze, the complaint says. The two bodies were found in the charred remains and ashes of the home.

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