A Broomfield man accused of killing his friend in August today pleaded guilty to second-degree murder as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.
Matthew Burnett, 32, also pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child after police found child pornography in his home.
Burnett killed James Fernandez on Aug. 16 after an argument in Burnett's home.
Fernandez, 34, was found dead in the street near Burnett's home in Westlake.
According to an arrest affidavit in the murder case, Fernandez visited Burnett's house to watch a movie and have a few drinks. Burnett told police he became angry after he found his wife, Carissa Koch, in "a compromising position” with Fernandez.
He punched Fernandez in the face, then shoved him in the chest, which caused Fernandez to fall back and hit his head on a small table, according to the affidavit.
Burnett told police he dragged his friend into the street, hoping a passing car might stop and help. He said he didn't mean to hurt his friend, but "just panicked," according to the affidavit.
An autopsy report stated Fernandez likely died from strangulation.
After his arrest, police obtained an additional search warrant for Burnett's home on Oct. 9. During the search, a detective confirmed two hard drives taken from the home contained 2,475 images and 129 videos of child pornography.
The home where police recovered the pornography also was the site of a home day care called Rocky Mountain Little Learners. The day care, run by Koch, was closed Aug. 23 after Burnett was arrested on suspicion of murder.
Koch has pleaded not guilty to charges of accessory to a crime and tampering with physical evidence. She is suspected of trying to clean up blood stains from the home after Fernandez's death. Koch's trial has been set for July 21.
Burnett originally faced a first-degree murder charge and two felony counts tied to possession of the pornography, but took a plea deal today. He could face up to 48 years in prison for the second-degree murder charge, and up to six years in prison for the child pornography charge, according to Judge Francis Wasserman.
Burnett also will have to register as a sex offender after he is released from prison.
He is currently being held without bond in the Broomfield County Jail.
Burnett's sentencing is set for May 23.