GEORGETOWN — A man scheduled for a retrial next week in the January 2004 death of his pregnant ex-girlfriend pleaded guilty Monday evening to complicity to commit murder.
Roger McBeath Jr. also pleaded guilty to complicity to tampering with physical evidence in the death of Ashley Lyons, said his attorney, Melanie Lowe, a public defender from LaGrange.
Sentencing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Aug. 4.
Lyons' mother, Carol Lyons of Stamping Ground, said the five-year ordeal might be near an end, but she's still grieving.
"Just because he's in jail — it doesn't go away, and it doesn't bring her back," Lyons said.
Carol Lyons said she still expects her daughter to drive up the driveway from work, and she wonders whether her daughter would have had more children and finished school.
Prosecutors recommended that McBeath serve 42 years in prison on the murder charge and five years on the tampering charge. The sentences would run concurrently.
Lyons said McBeath will never get enough time for his crime, and she will be ready in 20 years when he's up for parole.
"Lord willing, I'll be here to fight that," Lyons said.
The retrial was set to begin Monday.
McBeath was convicted of murder in October 2004, but the Kentucky Supreme Court overturned the conviction because a jail informant overstepped his bounds by questioning McBeath in jail about the shooting, and because the defense was not allowed to question the informant.
Lowe said McBeath pleaded guilty to an amended indictment that included complicity to commit murder and complicity to tampering with physical evidence, Lowe said. The criminal liability is the same, but McBeath would not have pleaded guilty to being the primary participant in the murder, she said.
"We believe that the facts supported a complicity charge," Lowe said.
Lowe said the second trial would not have been the same as the first. She said new details would have emerged, such as an alleged murder weapon that was not present at the first trial.
"You don't know what a jury's going to do," Lowe said. "So we had to consider all those factors."
Commonwealth's Attorney Gordie Shaw said the pros and cons were weighed in discussions between prosecutors and the Lyons family, and this was a solution everyone was comfortable with.
Still, the outcome shocked Carol Lyons.
"I never thought he would take the plea deal," Lyons said. "It surprised us all."
Lyons said she keeps Ashley's room mostly intact. She has placed a box with a glass window on Ashley's wall. It includes baby booties and other items her daughter had bought for her unborn son, whom she had named Landon Abner Lyons.
"I know she's in heaven," Lyons said. "And I know one day I'll see her again."