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Hoffman Pleads Guilty In Arden Hills Gas Station Murder

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The man accused of killing his former boyfriend and business partner in an Arden Hills gas station parking lot last summer has pleaded guilty Friday afternoon.

Lyle "Ty" Hoffman, 44, is accused of fatally shooting 48-year-old Kelly Phillips at a gas station on Aug. 11, 2014. He became the subject of a month-long manhunt following Phillips' death.

On Friday, Hoffman pleaded guilty to second-degree intentional homicide. He had previously pleaded not guilty on Oct. 3, 2014.

Hoffman stated in court that he had gone to Phillips' home and said he had car problems before asking for a ride to work.

Officials said Hoffman claimed while driving the two got into an argument about ownership percentage of Lush Bar, the business they co-owned.

Phillips then stopped to get gas, which is when Hoffman shot and killed him.

Rather than deferring most questions to his attorney, on Friday Hoffman was very vocal, speaking loud and clear, telling the judge that his third and final shot at Phillips was intended to kill.

Hoffman eluded police for a month before being arrested Sept. 11 after a tipster spotted him outside a fast-food restaurant in Shakopee.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi released a statement after the plea.

"We are pleased that the defendant pled guilty as charged today to intentional second degree murder. This plea spares the victim's family and everyone who loved Kelly Phillips the burden and uncertainty of a trial," Choi said Friday. "We also have every confidence that he will be held accountable for the additional crimes associated with the bank robbery in Blaine, MN. I want to thank the law enforcement community, specifically the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office, as well as the prosecutors from my office for their diligence in achieving today's result."

Sentencing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on March 17. Prosecutors are seeking a sentence of 306 months in prison.

"No amount of time will ever be the appropriate amount of time for what he did," Nathan Bailey, who was Phillips' fiancé at the time of his murder, said on Friday.

"He's going to be put away," the victim's father Jim Phillips said. "We have four wonderful kids and their spouses and grandkids that are going to help Judy and I get through this."

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