GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A man has been convicted of second-degree murder in the slaying of a retired University of Florida professor.

The Gainesville Sun reports that 40-year-old Stephen Underwood pleaded no contest on Monday as part of a plea deal for the murder of Thomas Oakland. He will be sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Underwood was arrested in 2015 after investigators say he killed the 75-year-old professor, who had been helping the troubled Underwood with occasional work and money.

Prosecutors say Underwood took cash after bludgeoning Oakland and set the professor’s house ablaze in an effort to try and hide the slaying. He fled and was later caught in Jacksonville.

Besides the murder, Underwood was also convicted of burglary, grand theft, arson and tampering with evidence.

Information from: The Gainesville (Fla.) Sun,

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.