MONTPELIER (AP) - A Vermont man is expected to plead guilty in federal court to charges he abducted and killed his 12-year-old niece, avoiding a death penalty trial that would have laid out the details of the girl's disappearance and killing.

Federal prosecutors haven't said what prompted them to agree to allow Michael Jacques (jayks) to plead guilty to the charges stemming from the 2008 death of Brooke Bennett. They said only that they didn't want a young witness to have to recount the details of the case in court.

The plea is expected Tuesday.

But Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center says the Justice Department isn't pursing the federal death penalty with the vigor it once did. It's been 10 years since the federal government last executed an inmate.