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South Bend murder suspect convicted after dying in jail

March 28, 2019

A judge has convicted a man who died in jail after he pleaded guilty to murder in the 1988 beating death of a pregnant South Bend woman.

St. Joseph Superior Judge John Marnocha on Wednesday accepted the plea that 78-year-old George Kearney entered on March 11.

Kearney was scheduled to be sentenced Friday, but he died Sunday in jail. Prosecutors say Kearney had been terminally ill and that his health had deteriorated over the past week.

Kearney admitted killing 28-year-old Miriam Rice, who was abducted June 24, 1988, while walking her dog in a park. Her body was found about a week later, obscured by foliage.

Kearney's former girlfriend, 56-year-old Barbara Brewster, also was charged with murder and is due to stand trial in June.

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