A man will spend at least 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to killing a Columbusteenager in 1991.
Marvin Lee Smith pleaded guilty on Friday to a charge of aggravated murder, with kidnapping andrape specifications, in connection with the death of Jessica Lyn Keen, 10TV's Glenn McEntyrereported.
Keen was 15 years old when she disappeared from a Columbus bus stop on March 15, 1991. Her bodywas found two days later in a Madison County graveyard.
Smith admitted kidnapping Keen and later chasing her through the graveyard before raping her andbludgeoning her to death with a 70-pound headstone, McEntyre reported.
Smith, 52, was arrested in 2008 in North Carolina after DNA evidence linked him to theslaying.
The case was expected to move to trial next month, but Smith and prosecutors reached a deal thatwould spare him the death penalty in exchange for his guilty plea.
The deal called for Smith to be sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 30years. Judges imposed the sentence late Friday afternoon.
Members of Keen's family said that while no sentence would bring Jessica back, there was somesatisfaction in knowing that Smith was headed to prison.
"We will never stop missing Jess, the pain in our hearts will never be healed," said HeatherTallet, Keen's sister. "But there is certainly some satisfaction in knowing that the monster thathurt and terrified her will never harm anyone ever again."
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