A Salt Lake County man pleaded guilty this week to beating his friend to death with a metal pole last year.

Christopher Allen Hewitt, 19, pleaded guilty Monday to counts of first-degree felony murder and third-degree felony aggravated assault in the Aug. 31, 2007, slaying of Benjamin Perkins-Link.

Hewitt faces a sentence of 15 years to life for the murder charge but could spend that time in a state hospital after entering a mentally ill plea in the case. Hewitt will undergo an evaluation before he is sentenced Nov. 13 in 3rd District Court.

Last year, Hewitt was with Perkins-Link, 19, and Seth Coleman in a parking lot at the mouth of Neff's Canyon in the Olympus Cove area when the attack occurred, according to court documents.

Hewitt took a 5-foot-long pole, about 1 inch in diameter, out of his van and hit Perkins-Link in the back and the head as he sat on a rock, according to charging documents. Hewitt then hit Coleman in the hip.

Coleman fled and Hewitt chased him with the pole before turning back and hitting Perkins-Link in the head 10 more times, killing him, court documents state.

Police said Coleman flagged down a passing motorist, who drove to the parking lot and found Perkins-Link unresponsive on the ground. The van was gone.

Hewitt later called police and turned himself in. He told investigators "he had decided to kill Benjamin on the day of the incident and that if he killed Benjamin he would have to kill Seth, too," according to the charges.

Hewitt originally faced a second-degree felony attempted murder charge for his attack on Coleman, but that charge was later reduced to a third-degree felony aggravated assault.

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