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Robert Petrick Agrees To Plea Deal In Fraud Trial

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DURHAM, N.C. — Robert Petrick has reached a plea deal with prosecutors in his fraud trial.

Petrick, who decided to represent himself in the trial, pleaded no contest to the charges and will spend 11 to 14 years in jail with time served. In return, prosecutors will dismiss all other fraud charges and not process any of the pending fraud charges.

Petrick has always proclaimed his innocence in the charges against him.

"No money ever changed hands. There was no attempt at fraud," Petrick said.

Prosecutors said Petrick manufactured fake checks worth thousands of dollars on a home computer. They also said the fraud charges are connected to the slaying of his wife, Janine Sutphen, but would not give any specific details.

Sutphen, a cellist with the Durham Symphony, disappeared in January 2003. Her body was found months later floating in Falls Lake.

In court Wednesday, Petrick asked the judge to consider a few things before handing down the sentence.

"I would like to point out that these are non-violent crimes," he said. "I'm saving the state tens of thousands of dollars in court costs by entering a plea deal. I've already spent 2-1/2 years behind bars."

The murder trial could go to trial as early as August.


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