Lauderdale County man pleads guilty in murder case


Joshua Lynn Balentine (Photo: Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office)

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FLORENCE, Ala. – A Lauderdale County man accused of beating to death a crippled Anderson man has pleaded guilty.

According to courthouse officials, Joshua Balentine pleaded guilty to manslaughter late last week.

Balentine confessed to investigators to beating 62-year-old Royce Varnell with a hammer in April of 2014.

Balentine had been indicted by a grand jury for murder.

He could face up to 20-years in prison when sentenced in November.