Cleaning woman cuts plea deal in ORNL scientist death

BURLINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- A former cleaning woman charged in the killing of a reclusive retired Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientist has pleaded guilty.

The plea Willa Blanc entered to a kidnapping charge in a northern Kentucky courtroom spares her a trial that could have brought her the death penalty, according to The Kentucky Enquirer.

Blanc pleaded guilty on Thursday to capital kidnapping as she stood in a Boone Circuit Courtroom in Burlington.

The plea agreement calls for her to spend life in prison, but allows her to avoid further prosecution in the March 2009 killing of 73-year-old Walter Sartory. Prosecutors said Blanc kidnapped and killed the 73-year-old Sartory, burned his body in an Indiana field and raided his bank accounts.

Sartory was a millionaire who lived in Hebron

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