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TEEN REPORTED SET TO PLEAD GUILTY TO KILLING TEACHER

A 15-year-old accused of fatally shooting a teacher last year at a middle school graduation dance has agreed to plead guilty to third-degree murder, a newspaper reported today.

The plea would spare Andrew Wurst the possibility of a mandatory life sentence in the death of science teacher John Gillette, according to the Morning News, which cited unidentified courthouse sources.

Erie County President Judge Michael Palmisano confirmed that a possible plea would be discussed at a hearing today. "It's worked out, but it's delicate," he said. "We want to make sure it works out."

Gillette, 48, was killed in April 1998, at the dance at a banquet hall in Edinboro. Two students were wounded.

The teen's lawyers have not disputed that he fired the shots, but they have said he is insane.

Third-degree murder -- an unpremeditated killing with malice -- carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 to 40 years.

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