May 19, 12:45 PM EDT

Man swaps plea, admits killing 2 Des Moines-area officers



DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- An Iowa man on Friday admitted to killing two Des Moines-area police officers who were ambushed as they sat in their patrol cars.

Scott Michael Greene withdrew his not guilty plea at a morning hearing and pleaded guilty to the shooting deaths of Urbandale officer Justin Martin, 24, and Des Moines Sgt. Anthony Beminio, 38. He was immediately sentenced to consecutive life sentences for two counts of first-degree murder.

Greene, 46, admitted he shot both men in the early morning hours of Nov. 2, 2016. The officers were killed as they sat in their patrol cars, about 2 miles apart. Police arrested Greene later that day.

Greene didn't explain the motivation behind the shootings. Greene killed the officers weeks after run-ins with police at a high school football game, where he waved a large Confederate flag in front of black spectators. A school district later barred Greene from district activities for security reasons.

Greene's attorney, assistant state public defender Matthew Sheeley, said Friday that he didn't advise his client to plead guilty.

"I can't say what's inside his head and I can't discuss what we've discussed, but he apparently decided that he didn't want a trial and that's why he pleaded," Sheeley said after the hearing.

A county crisis worker read a statement from Beminio's wife that expressed his family's pain after the officer's death.

"As a family, we will pick up the shattered pieces and continue to push forward as we know this is what Tony would want," the statement from Zoe Beminio said.

After killing the officers in separate shootings within a few minutes, Greene drove to a rural area northwest of Des Moines. He turned himself in to an employee of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and officers later found a high-powered rifle and other evidence.

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