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KONA, Hawaii: The 47 year old Bellevue, Washington man arrested for killing his girlfriend while visiting the Big Island in 2011 has pleaded guilty to murder charges.

Philip Howard Zimmerman was set to stand trial for the murder of Susan Brockert on May 23, 2011 at The Fairmont Orchid. Big Island Video News covered the probable cause hearing held in Waimea one year ago (right). At the hearing, chilling testimony was given by a number of witnesses.

County Prosecuting Attorney Charlene Iboshi has announced Philip Howard Zimmerman entered guilty pleas to the charges of murder in the second degree, kidnapping and criminal property damage in the second degree before Third Circuit Judge Ronald Ibarra.

Philip Howard Zimmerman

Zimmerman was arrested and charged for those offenses after killing his girlfriend Susan Brockert on May 23, 2011 at The Fairmont Orchid. Brockert, visiting from Bellevue, Wash. on a company trip, was locked in her room where the defendant murdered her.

Hotel personnel attempted to intervene after hearing cries for help and were able to interrupt the attack. Brockert died from injures at North Hawaii Community Hospital.

A plea agreement was reached after discussions and input with the family of Susan Brockert. In exchange for Zimmerman’s guilty pleas, the state agreed not to pursue an enhanced sentencing structure, which exposed Zimmerman to imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole but the state is free to ask for consecutive terms of imprisonment.

Peter Bresciani, Zimmerman’s attorney, requested a sentencing date of Sept. 27.

The maximum terms of imprisonment are: life in prison for murder in the second degree, 20 years for the charge of kidnapping and five years for the charge of criminal property damage in the second degree.

The court retains the discretion to impose consecutive or concurrent terms of imprisonment.

SOURCE: Office of the Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney