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Woman pleads guilty to killing boyfriend, torching his house

March 14, 2020 GMT

MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — A woman accused of beating a 75-year-old man she was in a relationship with to death and torching his Long Island house to cover up the crime pleaded guilty.

Jennifer Gross, 54, pleaded guilty Thursday to manslaughter in the 2018 death of James Coppola in a deal that includes a 22-year prison sentence, Newsday reported.

Nassau County officials said Gross and Coppola were involved in a violent 20-year relationship when Gross went to his home in November 2018 to ask for money.

When Coppola refused, their argument turned physical. Gross hit him in the head and body with an object that was inside the residence, officials said.

Firefighters found Coppola’s badly beaten body near the front door of his home after they doused the flames.

Gross was arrested and charged in September.

Officials said Coppola had an order of protection against Gross when he was killed.

Jeffrey Groder, Gross’ defense attorney, said Thursday that the divorced mother of two had an on-and-off romantic relationship with Coppola for years in which he gave her financial support.

He said Gross admitted her guilt because “she wanted to accept responsibility for her actions” and knew “that this was the best outcome for her.”