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Washington state man pleads guilty to killing girlfriend at Kona hotel

A Washington state man pleaded guilty today to killing his girlfriend in May 2011 at the Fairmont Orchid hotel on the Kona Coast, the Hawaii County prosecutor’s office announced.

Philip Howard Zimmerman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and kidnapping and criminal property damage before Circuit Judge R. Ibarra.

Zimmerman, 46, and Susan Brockert, 44, both were from Bellevue, Wash., near Seattle. They were on vacation and staying at the Fairmont Orchid when hotel staff heard cries for help from their room on May 23, 2011.

Hotel staff were able to stop the attack on Brockert, but she died of her injuries at North Hawaii Community Hospital.

The prosecutor’s office said Zimmerman agreed to plead guilty in return for prosecutors not seeking an enhanced sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Zimmerman could still be sentenced to consecutive terms, including life with parole for the convictions of murder, kidnapping and criminal property damage.

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