HAMILTON, Mont. -

A Hamilton man has pleaded no contest to negligent homicide in the death of his common law wife.
   
The Ravalli Republic reports (http://bit.ly/13XMwqc ) 48-year-old Douglas C. Reynolds entered his plea in District Court Thursday as part of an agreement that dismissed a deliberate homicide charge for the Nov. 11 death of 40-year-old Jessica Hawkins.
   
Court records say Reynolds told investigators that he and Hawkins had been drinking whiskey and cola at a Hamilton motel on Nov. 10 when they started arguing. He said he "snapped" and struck her in the left temple with his elbow.
   
In the morning, Reynolds found Hawkins was breathing, but unresponsive. Her blood-alcohol level was 0.342. Physicians determined she was brain dead and she was removed from life support.
   
District Judge James Haynes scheduled sentencing for Aug. 22.