Man pleads guilty to killing neighbor, avoids death penalty

? An Olathe man pleaded guilty Friday to killing one of his neighbors in a deal that avoids the death penalty.

Roger Ratliff told Miami County District Judge Richard Smith that he raped and strangled Alieghya Clark, 21, in May. He then left her remains in a wooded area near Paola.

“I’m guilty, your honor,” said Ratliff, 46, standing before a courtroom packed with law enforcement officers and Clark’s family.

Smith asked Ratliff about his mental state and whether he understood that he faces life in prison without parole.

“Yes,” answered Ratliff, who will be sentenced on Nov. 3.

Olathe police and other law enforcement agencies spent two months searching for Clark, who was last seen May 28.

In late July, however, they received information leading them to where her body had been left.

Miami County Attorney David Miller said Friday that Ratliff had divulged the information while sitting in jail on another charge. He also directed searchers to a lake near his house, where they found other evidence.

“He just wanted to get it off his chest,” Miller said.

Miller said Ratliff told investigators he invited Clark to take a ride with him on the evening of May 28.

The two lived around the corner from each other and went to the same church.

She went along with him, but once they were in Miami County, Miller said, Ratliff started making sexual advances toward her, which ended in the rape and murder.

Ratliff had a criminal history, convicted of sexual assault in Minnesota in 1986. But he slipped through the network set up to track sexual offenders. Because Minnesota didn’t consider him a high risk to re-offend, the state didn’t require him to register as a sex offender.

He didn’t have to register after moving to Kansas because the state’s sexual predator list went into effect in the mid-1990s.