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Former counselor pleads guilty to murder

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COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- A former school counselor will spend 20 to 34 years in prison for a 2011 murder.

Michael Shawn Brown pleaded guilty to 2nd degree murder in Columbus County Superior Court, according to District Attorney Jon David, for the shooting death of Larry Townes in March 2011. Brown had claimed Townes startled him at Brown's Christian Counseling Center near Tabor City after hours.

Earlier this year Brown was sentenced on federal wire fraud and arson charges. Investigators say Brown, who worked as a counselor at Chadbourn Elementary School, burned down his private counseling office the night before investigators were scheduled to visit to look at his records.

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