The man accused of murdering a Mesa County Sheriff's Deputy in 2016 has entered a guilty plea prior to his trial.

Austin Holzer, 20, pleaded guilty to Second Degree Murder in the shooting death of Mesa County Sheriff Deputy Derek Geer on February 8, 2016. Holzer also plead guilty to First-Degree Assault and a sentence-enhancing Crime of Violence charge

Jury selection had already begun in preparation for the trial. On Tuesday (May 29), Holzer entered the guilty plea and agreed to a 70-year prison sentence as part of the plea deal.

Holzer will be back in court on June 5 where a judge will decide whether or not to accept the plea. If the plea is accepted, and it likely will be, sentencing will follow. The 70-year sentence mandates 40 years in prison before Holzer would first be eligible for parole.

Additional Sources: KKCO/Daily Sentinel