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Prison term for transient in beating death

Mon., April 25, 2011, 2:56 p.m.

A Spokane transient, who earlier pleaded guilty to beating a man to death, was sentenced today to serve 10 ½ years in prison.

Roland E. Benton II pleaded guilty last month to first-degree manslaughter with a deadly weapon for the beating death of 46-year-old Douglas J. Klages. His bludgeoned body was found April 30 in a small cave at Camp Caro Community Park at Dishman Hills.

Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza sentenced Benton to 126 months, which is the high end of the sentencing range for the manslaughter charge. Benton had been charge with first-degree murder before attorneys worked out a plea agreement.

In solving the case, detectives retraced Klages’ final hours and found video of him leaving a Spokane Valley Rosauers store with Benton on the day Klages’ body was discovered by hikers in the area. Detectives arrested Benton on May 5.

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