A man pleaded guilty Tuesday to shooting and killing a Shelby, NC, police officer in 2016.

Police said Irving Fenner Jr. shot Officer Tim Brackeen in the chest on Sept. 10, 2016, while the officer was serving a warrant on him.

The officer died two days later and Fenner was found hiding out in Rhode Island soon after.

The district attorney told Channel 9 he accepted the plea because he worried about the possibility that jurors could give Fenner second-degree murder. Under terms of the plea Fenner will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole. Originally, the prosecution had sought the death penalty.

Brackeen was a decorated K-9 officer and his death shook the Cleveland County community -- so much so that jury selection was moved to Catawba County because a judge ruled Fenner wouldn't get a fair trial in the high-profile case.