A man who pleaded guilty to the 1988 beating death of a pregnant mother in South Bend has died in jail.
The St. Joseph County prosecutor’s office says 78-year-old George Kearney was found unresponsive Saturday night in the county jail’s medical unit. He was pronounced dead early Sunday.
Authorities say Kearney had been terminally ill and signed an order with jail medical staff to take no lifesaving measures if he stopped breathing.
His guilty plea in the slaying of 28-year-old Miriam Rice came earlier this month. Kearney was in prison for an unrelated crime when he confessed and said his co-defendant, 56-year-old Barbara Brewster, was also responsible. Both were charged last year.
Kearney faced up to 60 years in prison at his sentencing Friday. An autopsy is expected Monday.