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Missouri man pleads to meth charge, but murder case dropped in lab explosion

An eastern Missouri man has entered an Alford plea on a methamphetamine charge, but prosecutors dropped charges of second-degree murder.

The Daily Journal in Park Hills, Mo., reports that 32-year-old Robert L. Bunch of Doe Run entered the Alford plea on Friday to a charge of attempted manufacture of meth as a prior and persistent offender. Prosecutors will seek a 24-year prison term at sentencing in September.

An Alford plea is not an admission of guilt but acknowledges enough evidence for conviction.

Bunch originally faced other drug charges and second-degree murder. A mobile meth lab explosion in December 2010 killed 31-year-old Kimberly Bell. Those charges were dropped as part of the plea deal.

Bunch has past convictions for burglary and failure to pay child support.

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