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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — Prosecutors say a South Carolina man with no criminal record before he beat his neighbor to death with a metal pipe has been sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Solicitor Barry Barnette said 29-year-old Joshua Ellis pleaded guilty Tuesday to murder and armed robbery.

Barnette says Ellis left 67-year-old Boyce Pye’s house in Boiling Springs in his truck after beating him. The pipe with Pye’s blood was found inside the truck.

Barnette said in a statement that Ellis says he killed Pye in self-defense after an argument. The prosecutor says no evidence supported that story.

Barnette says the walls and ceiling of Pye’s bedroom were covered with blood when his body was found in June.