WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – A man pleaded guilty Thursday and was sentenced to life in prison for killing Alan Shalleck, who collaborated with the co-creator of "Curious George" to bring the mischievous monkey to TV and a series of book sequels.
As part of a plea deal, Rex Ditto, 31, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and robbery with a weapon. He is not eligible for parole.
"You will die in a prison cell," Circuit Judge Edward Garrison told Ditto.
One of the reasons Ditto took the plea was so his parents would not have to sit through a trial and hear details of the crime, Ditto's attorney, Robert Gershman, told The Palm Beach Post.
"It was a horrible, horrible crime scene," Gershman said.
Shalleck had 83 blunt force injuries and more than three dozen stab wounds, including to the abdomen, neck and groin, an autopsy revealed.
Ditto agreed to testify, if asked, against his co-defendant and former lover, Vincent Puglisi, 56, who is scheduled for trial early next year.
Ditto and Puglisi went to Shalleck's Boynton Beach home on Super Bowl Sunday in February 2006 intending to rob him. After the killing, Ditto and Puglisi stole jewelry from Shalleck and pilfered funds from his checking account, authorities said.
Shari Vrod, an assistant public defender representing Puglisi, said his client also was offered life in prison if he pleaded guilty but turned the deal down.
Shalleck was the writer and director of more than 100 short episodes of "Curious George," which aired on the Disney Channel, and co-wrote a series of books with Margret Rey, who created the mischievous monkey with her husband more than 60 years ago.