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Minn. man sentenced to life in second "body in car" case

MINNEAPOLIS - A 25-year-old man was sentenced to life in prison Monday after admitting he killed a second woman in the Twin Cities and left her body in an abandoned car.

Alberto Palmer pleaded guilty in Hennepin County to first-degree murder in the killing of 24-year-old Klaressa Cook in Brooklyn Park, Minn., in May 2013. Her body was found in a car towed to an impound lot in Minneapolis.

Palmer will be eligible for parole after 30 years, minus credit for time served.

Palmer is still awaiting sentencing in Anoka County after pleading guilty last month to killing 18-year-old Brittany Clardy, whose frozen body was found hidden in a car in a Columbia Heights impound lot in February 2013.

As part of his latest guilty plea, Palmer admitted he met Klaressa Cook online and arranged to have sex with her. Afterward, he tried to take back his money from Cook and repeatedly hit her and pushed her head into a wall.

"I hit her in the face until I got tired," Palmer told Judge Daniel Moreno. "She wasn't breathing. I thought she was dead."

Palmer said he wrapped up Cook's body, placed it in the trunk of her car and abandoned the vehicle in a grocery store parking lot.

In a victim impact statement read by a court advocate, Cook's aunt, Tabytha Byrd, said she was grateful police found her niece's body so they could spread her ashes in the Smoky Mountains, the Star Tribune reported.

"She grew into a strong person and grabbed life head on," Byrd wrote. "Her smile would warm the coldest heart. She was loved."

Before he was sentenced for Cook's murder, Palmer apologized.

"What if this would have happened to a member of my family?" Palmer told the court. "Since I've been in jail, I've been allowed to become a better person."

His plea deal will have Palmer first serving a 40-year sentence for Clardy's murder, which could be reduced by a third. Then he would serve at least 30 years of his life sentence for Cook's murder.

Palmer also was wanted for three attacks on escorts in Georgia.