Man accused of killing retired Rapid City teacher pleads guilty

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) – A man accused of fatally beating a retired Rapid City teacher has taken a plea deal.

Andrew Eastman pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter Tuesday in the death of Larry Mintzlaff. The 64-year-old North Middle School teacher and coach was found slain in his home in June 2017.

Eastman was originally charged with first-degree murder and could have been executed if he was found guilty. The plea agreement calls for a 60-year sentence.

He told Judge Jeff Davis he fled while working a prison job site using a city-owned pickup truck, but couldn’t remember much else until he sobered up. Eastman was arrested in Albuquerque, New Mexico, three days later driving the victim’s car and using his credit cards. Police say they found a baseball bat and bloody clothes in the vehicle.