RI man in capital punishment battle changes plea to guilty to avoid death penalty

A Rhode Island man at the center of a capital punishment battle between the state and federal governments has changed his plea to guilty to avoid the death penalty.

Jason Pleau (PLOO') pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Providence to killing Woonsocket gas station manager David Main.

Main's family members wept as a prosecutor recounted how Pleau conspired to rob Main with two others, then shot him outside a bank.

The judge agreed to sentence Pleau to life in prison without parole. He is scheduled to be sentenced in October.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee (CHAY'-fee) fought unsuccessfully to keep Pleau out of federal custody because of the threat of capital punishment. Chafee said the state rejected the use of the death penalty and it was an issue of state's rights.