A couple Tuesday pleaded guilty in Clay County to a brutal sex murder.
Richard Davis and Dena Riley entered guilty pleas in the first-degree murder of Michelle Ricci. In exchange for their guilty pleas, Clay County prosecutors withdrew seeking the death penalty for both of them.
Some of Ricci's family shared mixed views about the plea.
"I wanted the death penalty. Can you imagine what they went through... her and that Marsha Spicer. That's a horrible way to die and I wanted the same for them. I wanted them to die. They got lucky," Matthew Lee, Ricci's ex husband, said.
Lee was married to Ricci, but the two divorced before her murder. They had two sons together who both appeared in a Clay County courtroom to hear from their mother's killers.
Davis, 48, admitted in court to killing Ricci in April 2006 by putting his hand over her mouth and suffocating her. Riley, his accomplice, admitted to driving Davis to a rural area and dumping Ricci's body. Davis said he killed Ricci because he feared she would report him to the police.
"What you all heard today is a little sliver of what happened to Michelle," Her cousin Karen Shannon said.
Davis led authorities to Ricci's charred body only after he was being questioned in another homicide in Jackson County.
Davis and Riley were convicted in the brutal beating, strangulation and rape of Marsha Spicer. The two also videotaped her death. Davis received the death penalty in that case.
In Clay County court Tuesday, Ricci's family testified about how this case has impacted them, including Ricci's daughter who was only 11 when her mother went missing.
"I was depressed and I'm still depressed and I'm still going through a very bad depression, I just spoke up there and started crying," Stephanie Ricci said.
While some relatives opposed the plea agreement, others were grateful to forfeit another lengthy trial.
"This has been a very long road for our family to endure. We've already been through the two trials in Jackson County. The thought of having to go through that again here was just something we didn't want to do," Shannon said.
In court Tuesday, after the victim's family gave their testimony, Davis was heard saying this never should have happened and he was sorry. Both he and Riley received life sentences without the possibility of probation or parole.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
Tuesday, May 21 2013 3:29 PM EDT2013-05-21 19:29:04 GMT
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