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Man accused in Bangor murder pleads guilty to lesser charge, freed from jail

Cote Choneska
Cote Choneska(WABI)
Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 11:58 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 22, 2021 at 12:00 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - A man from Veazie accused of murdering a man in Bangor and setting his house on fire has pleaded guilty to lesser charges and will now get out of jail.

A second man charged in the case is still set to go on trial.

Forty-one-year-old Cote Choneska pleaded guilty Friday morning to hindering the apprehension of his codefendent, 32-year-old Joseph Johnson.

In exchange for the plea, he was sentenced to five years in prison but the only time he’ll actually serve is the time he’s already spent in jail, which has been about two years.

Choneska and Johnson were both initially charged with murder and arson. In November of 2019, 59-year-old Berton Conley was killed and his home was set on fire.

The assistant attorney general and Choneska’s lawyer now agree that Choneska wasn’t there when Conley died or the fire began.

But Choneska did hold back information from police about the crime.

Johnson has pleaded not guilty. He’s scheduled to go on trial in late January.

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