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NEW ORLEANS -- The Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office secured a guilty plea hours before a murder trial was set to begin Monday morning.

The district attorney's office says Darryl Sterling, 28, pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter, one count of obstruction of justice, one count of possession of a firearm with a controlled dangerous substance, and one count of possession of a stolen firearm.

Sterling shot Ricky Rudolph on January 27, 2012 more than 20 times while Rudolph was sitting in his car in New Orleans East, according to the plea agreement.

Rudolph's girlfriend had apparently gotten into an argument with one of Sterling's acquaintances before shots rang out.

'This was a truly senseless crime,' said District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro. 'Now, this defendant will remain in prison until he is an old man and no longer a threat to public safety. When witnesses such as the witnesses in this case cooperate with police and prosecutors, criminal defendants cannot escape the consequences of their violent acts.'

Sterling was sentenced to the maximum 40 years behind bars.

Sterling's girlfriend, Cicero Francis, also pleaded guilty to an accessory after the fact charge. The judge sentenced her to probation.

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