Lawton, Ok_Warren McGuffey has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for shooting and killing Darlene Binns, a mother of four, in January 2012. He entered a blind plea just as his trial was set to begin.
McGuffey's attorney said his client saw the victim's family and decided not to move forward with the trial. Several of Binns' relatives were set to testify.
McGuffey did not make eye contact with Binns' relatives when the judge announced there would be no trial. Binns' nephew, Steven Muckolls said Mcguffey's decision to enter a blind plea was actually a relief. He said, "I didn't want to have to see my mom and the rest of the family sit through the medical examiners report. I feel like justice was served. We all would like to be able to forgive him when we reach that point. Forgiveness is one of the greatest acts that one human being can give to another."
As the judge walked Mcguffey through the plea deal, Mcguffey said he did not intend to kill Binns, which is a requirement of a first-degree murder charge.
"This case was really shaky for the state because there really wasn't any evidence that he intended to shoot anybody. His story was, and I think it's true, he was trying to scare them, they closed the door and he shot the gun off and somebody died", said McGuffey's attorney, Don Gutteridge.
But prosecutor Irma Newburn pointed out that Mcguffey's actions actually determined his intent.
Newburn said, "There is no time frame to make that decision of malice a forethought. The second before you start to pull the trigger, if you decide you're going to shoot them. The law allows that we intend the consequences of our actions. So, if you point a gun at somebody and shoot that gun and they die, the law presumes you intended that they should die."
Before he was sentenced, Mcguffey requested to make a statement to the family. He apologized and asked for their forgiveness.
Muckolls said, "I didn't feel much remorse behind it but I hope that over time God will reach him over time and he'll feel some genuine remorse over what he did."
Since Mcguffey entered a blind plea, his sentence was left up to the judge. McGuffey was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole for the murder charge, which is a little over 38 years. He will also serve five years for assault with a deadly weapon for shooting Binns' daughter in the leg.