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Penn. man pleads guilty to killing ex-wife in church

COUDERSPORT, Pa. — A former elementary school music teacher will spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty to fatally shooting his ex-wife — also a music teacher — while she played the organ during a church service in northern Pennsylvania last year.

Gregory Eldred, 53, of Coudersport, avoided a possible death penalty by pleading guilty to first-degree murder and will instead receive a mandatory life term without parole when he returns for sentencing by a Potter County judge on Tuesday.

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Eldred admitted he gunned down Darlene Sitler, 53, at the First United Presbyterian Church of Coudersport on Dec. 2. The church is about 140 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

The couple had been divorced since August 2010, according to court records. Investigators have not detailed the precise motive for the shooting though District Attorney Andy Watson provided a partial explanation during Wednesday’s plea hearing, saying Eldred killed his wife over ‘‘information she possessed.’’

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