Police: Visalia man strangled stepson with cord

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Updated: 12/17/2013 10:13 pm

VISALIA, Calif. (AP) — A 32-year-old Central California man has admitted strangling his stepson to death with an electrical cord and then hiding the boy's body in Sequoia National Park.

But the Fresno Bee reports  that Miguel Villegas Pacheco's public defender is arguing his client should be charged with voluntary manslaughter instead of first-degree murder because Pacheco did not plan to kill 14-year-old Dameian "Luke" Gulley.

Pacheco's preliminary hearing was held Monday in Tulare County Superior Court. Visalia police detective Scott Nelson testified that Pacheco told investigators he and his stepson had argued before he pinned the boy face-down and wrapped an electrical cord from a nearby fan around his neck.

He and the teen's mother reported Luke missing on Nov. 18. An off-duty park ranger found the body on Nov. 21 partially buried and wrapped in a blanket.

©2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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