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Al Hartmann/Pool photo
Sarah Ataata

The two young people accused of fatally gunning down the Family Dollar store manager in Glendale pleaded guilty to killing the man and to other crimes on Friday.

Biu Benjamin Olive, 18, entered guilty pleas to two counts of first-degree felony aggravated murder, first-degree felony aggravated robbery and second-degree felony obstruction of justice.

The co-defendant in the case, Sarah Ataata, 19, pleaded guilty to first-degree felony aggravated murder and second-degree felony manslaughter.

Third District Judge Judith Atherton set a sentencing date of Oct. 3 for both.

The two were charged in connection with the March 12 shooting death of Wally Knapton during a robbery at the Family Dollar store that he supervised in Glendale. Police say Knapton responded to some commotion at the front of the store as it was being robbed, and he was shot in the chest with a .22-caliber rifle.

The teens fled with $180 in stolen cash.

Knapton, 49, was a respected and well-liked figure in the community and was known for his civic activities.

Police believe Olive was the trigger man, while Ataata was the getaway driver. Since Olive was just a few days shy of his 18th birthday when the crimes occurred, prosecutors could not seek the death penalty.

A 13-year-old boy also is accused of being involved, and his case is going through the juvenile court.


E-mail: lindat@desnews.com