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Minneapolis man pleads guilty in fatal shooting, faces over 37 years in prison

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A Minneapolis man has decided to plead guilty to second-degree murder in order to avoid a possible life sentence at trial, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Monday.  

Ernesto Rivera, 41, will be sentenced to 37.5 years in prison at his hearing on Oct. 2. Rivera was indicted by a Hennepin County grand jury for first-degree murder in the death of 46-year-old Michael Rekow last September. Jury selection for the trial is expected to begin on Monday.  

"This is an appropriate sentence for a cold-hearted murder," Freeman said in a statement. "We sought the first-degree indictment because we saw Mr. Rivera as a very real and continuing threat to public safety. He will be in his mid-60s, at the earliest, when he is released."  

According to the criminal complaint and his admissions in court Monday afternoon, Rivera shot Rekow during a meeting on the 4500 block of Stevens Avenue South to discuss undisclosed business.  

The conversation soon became heated, Rivera said. While Rekow ran back to his car, Rivera fired four shots at him, two of which hit him, Rivera acknowledged.