Plea deal will end nearly 40-year-old murder case

Officer James Sackett
St. Paul Police Officer James Sackett was shot to death in 1970 as he responded to a false emergency call. Opening statements in the trial of one of two men accused of his murder took place Tuesday.
Photo courtesy of St. Paul Police Department

A plea deal will apparently end a nearly 40-year-old murder case in St. Paul.

Prosecutors have dropped first-degree murder charges against Larry Clark in the 1970 ambush killing of St. Paul Police Officer James Sackett.

Instead, Clark is pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit murder.

The state Supreme Court threw out Clark's murder conviction, clearing the way for a new trial.

Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner says the family of the slain policeman is comfortable with the decision:

Scene of the shooting
Officer Sackett was responding to a false emergency call at this house, at 859 Hague Ave., when he was killed. The home is one block from where the call was said to have been placed.
MPR Photo/Toni Randolph

"The family of James Sackett was very supportive of this plea agreement," Gaertner said. "They are very anxious to put this tragic chapter and the trials behind them and not do it again."

The plea deal requires Clark to serve another year in prison before he's out on supervised release.

Sackett was gunned down when he responded to a fake emergency call in 1970. A second man is serving life in prison for Sackett's murder.