COVINGTON, La. — A Louisiana man has ended his murder trial with a plea accepting life in prison while still maintaining he didn’t beat his ex-wife to death in 2012.

St. Tammany Parish District Attorney Warren Montgomery says District Judge August Hand sentenced 46-year-old Calvin Jefferson Friday to the mandatory sentence.

Jefferson was charged with the second-degree murder of Nicole Jefferson, whose body was found May 6 near an interstate. She was killed on her 31st birthday after a party at the home where she let Calvin Jefferson stay to help care for their children.

A news release says prosecutors objected strongly to Hand’s decision to let Jefferson enter what’s called an Alford plea. The plea contends that the defendant is innocent but acknowledges that overwhelming evidence likely would bring a guilty verdict.

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