A former male stripper pleaded guilty Wednesday to murdering Paradise Valley millionaire Rick Chance during a 2002 robbery.
Accepting a plea deal from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, Robert Lemke avoided being tried for a second time in the case.
A jury in 2005 could not decide whether he was guilty of murder, instead finding him guilty of theft for stealing Chance’s watch.
For that charge, a county Superior Court judge sentenced him to 27 years in prison.
Lemke will receive life in prison for first-degree murder when he is sentenced Oct. 5, but he will be eligible for parole after 25 years, according to a plea deal reported on the court’s Web site.
Neither the prosecutor’s office nor Lemke’s defense attorney could be reached late Wednesday for comment.
Before his death, Chance was a well-recognized Valley figure who starred in commercials for his auto glass company, Empire Glass.
Chance, 44, was found slain Aug. 9, 2002, in a Tempe hotel room.
A female stripper, Brandi Hungerford, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the case and testified against Lemke in the 2005 trial, according to court records.