Teen in Elko Classmate's Killing Pleads Guilty

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Elko, NV - The second of two people accused in the March 2011 killing of a West Wendover High School classmate has pleaded guilty in Elko to first-degree murder.

Nineteen-year-old Kody Cree Patten changed his plea from not guilty at a hearing Wednesday morning. Attorney John Ohlson says Patten reached a deal last week that will avoid a July trial, and keep the death penalty off the table.

Patten will be sentenced July 31st.

Patten and his then-girlfriend, Toni Fratto, were accused of killing 16-year-old Micaela "Mickey" Costanzo.

Authorities say she was taken to a remote area near the Utah-Nevada border, where she was struck with a shovel and her throat was slit, before she was buried in a shallow grave.

Toni Fratto pleaded guilty to second-degree murder with a deadly weapon and was sentenced in April to up to life in prison.