By The Associated Press

STRATHAM, N.H. (AP) — A former security guard charged with fatally stabbing a Timberland employee at the company’s headquarters last year has agreed to plead guilty, according to court documents.

Robert Pavao, 22, formerly of Berwick, Maine, is scheduled to plead guilty to second-degree murder in connection with the death of Catherine Heppner, 46, Timberland’s marketing director, as part of a negotiated deal, the Portsmouth Herald reported.

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Pavao is expected to enter his plea on Nov. 3 in Rockingham County Superior Court and be sentenced the same day. His attorney declined to comment Monday.

He originally was charged with both first- and second-degree murder and had pleaded not guilty.

Robert Pavao. (Photo from Rockingham County Jail)

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The terms for the plea deal call for a prison sentence of 55 years to life, with five years of the sentence deferred for 20 years on conditions. A first-degree conviction would have called for a life sentence without the chance for parole.

Pavao worked as a security guard for Securitas Security Services, which was contracted to provide security for Timberland. He was arrested on Feb. 9, 2020, after officers responded to Timberland’s headquarters in Stratham in response to a 911 call reporting a stabbing.

A second-degree murder indictment alleges Pavao recklessly caused Heppner’s death “under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to the value of human life by stabbing her.”

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