Mele pleads guilty in death of Laura Garza

Michael Mele, a convicted sex offender from Orange County, NY, pleaded guilty today to manslaughter and tampering with evidence in the 2008 death of Brooklyn resident Laura Garza.

Mele, who pleaded guilty just prior to the start of his trial, admitted to suffocating 25-year-old Garza in his Wallkill apartment before stuffing her body in a laundry basket and dumping her body in a wooded area in Pennsylvania.

Garza, who originally was from McAllen, Tex., had only moved to Brooklyn five months prior to her death.

Mele is expected to receive 23 years in prison under the plea agreement when he is sentenced March 6.

AP wire services contributed to this report.

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