A former Independence pastor admitted Wednesday that he killed the husband of a woman he was having an affair with.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker called David Love's plea a "surprise" twist.
Love pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison for the death of Independence insurance businessman Randy Stone.
Authorities found Stone murdered in his Noland Road office in March 2010. Shortly after, Stone's family members told us his wife, Teresa Stone, was having an affair with Love.
Love's trial was set for early next year. He had been charged with first-degree murder, which meant he could have received the death penalty if convicted. His plea Wednesday means he will not be eligible for an appeal. The 51-year-old Love could be eligible for parole in 25 years.
Love served as pastor at New Hope Baptist before resigning shortly after Stone's death. He gave a eulogy at Stone's funeral then moved to South Carolina where authorities a year ago extradited him back to Missouri.
Teresa Stone still awaits her upcoming spring trial when she'll face a conspiracy to commit murder charge. Baker would not comment on how or if Love's guilty plea would affect Teresa Stone's trial.
Stone's two children and close family members were in court Wednesday for the plea hearing. None of them would publicly comment on the outcome, but they emotionally hugged when they left the Independence courthouse.
"He was a father that would do anything for them and they are left without him today," Baker said. "Justice is served, but justice is served with a life sentence. We cannot bring him back."
Charles Franklin, a family friend and Stone's landlord, said it is a relief that Stone's family won't have to endure a trial "and the sordid details that would come out."
Stone's children want the public to know "he was a father that would do anything for them and they are left without him today and justice is served," Baker said.
Baker said prosecutors will make a vigorous case against Teresa Stone.
"Justice has yet to be served in that case and we intend to see justice served across the board," the prosecutor said.
Love pleaded guilty exactly one year to the day after he was arrested in South Carolina following a grand jury indictment in Jackson County.
Copyright 2011 KCTV. All rights reserved.