AUGUSTA, Maine — An Augusta man has pleaded guilty to murder in the strangulation of a 72-year-old neighbor at their State Street apartment building nearly a year ago.

Raymond Leslie Clark entered the plea Monday in Kennebec County Superior Court. His lawyer said he and the prosecution agreed to recommend a 40-year sentence, with the defense reserving the right to argue for less.

The 36-year-old Clark told police that he struck Audrey Lou Benn and strangled her with the belt to her bathrobe after she confronted him on Feb. 22 about his being a convicted sex offender and came after him with a knife.

Previously, Clark told an interviewer that Benn had been a good neighbor to him and he was sorry for what he had done.