Jun 15, 2011 9:57 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP
NEW IBERIA, La. (AP) - The 22-year-old man accused of beating a New Iberia orthodontist to death in December has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
The plea means Ismael Viera now faces a mandatory life sentence in the Dec. 13 death of Robert Chastant, 59.
Viera's attorney, Nancy Dunning, a public defender for the 16th Judicial District, admitted her client's decision was "unusual."
Dunning tells The Advocate that Viera's plea came after lengthy discussions and a thorough review of the evidence against him.
Dunning said Viera admitted he hit Dr. Chastant multiple times with a hammer after they had an argument over some tools that belonged to the doctor.
Viera will be sentenced July 15.