The day before attorneys were to pick a jury for a murder trial, a Bibb County man pleaded guilty to killing his bride of 19 days.
Marcus Donnell Hoskins, 46, admitted taking Danielle Kelly Thompson to the Longleaf Trail near Bond Swamp and fatally shooting her Jan. 30, 2013.
In exchange for pleading guilty to malice murder, a theft charge and two firearms charges were dismissed, said Peter Fred Larsen, a prosecutor in the Dublin Judicial Circuit.
Monday morning, Judge H. Gibbs Flanders Jr. sentenced Hoskins to life in prison, but he will be eligible for parole after 30 years,
Thompsons children and siblings met with attorneys and the judge before the plea agreement was accepted, said Sandy Williams, the sister of the victim.
I really dont think 30 years is long enough, but sometimes you have to do things you dont want to do to make sure someone stays behind bars and doesnt hurt anyone else, Williams said. You can never tell with a jury.
For a little more than a year, Hoskins has been held at the Twiggs County jail, Twiggs County Sheriff Darren Mitchum said after the guilty plea.
At least for the family, they have some closure to it, Mitchum said. Its not sitting in limbo waiting for something to happen.
The morning after the killing, Hoskins called Jones County sheriffs investigators and confessed to killing his wife after leading her into the woods off Ga. 129, also known as the Cochran Short Route. He shot her and left her there to die.
Earlier that morning, Thompson had been in an Atlanta hospital with her oldest daughter, who had the first of several brain surgeries five days before her mothers death.
Thompson was considering getting back with her ex-husband for the sake of her children, Mitchum said hours into the investigation.
Hoskins had a gun and forced the mother of four to leave the hospital and drive with him back to Macon, Williams said.
Hoskins, who had forgery convictions in the mid-80s and was sentenced in 2007 to five years in prison for aggravated assault on a peace officer, originally confessed to his mother at the east Macon home where he grew up.
After Hoskins came clean to Jones County deputies and led them to the body, his not-guilty plea in May incensed the family.
He can see his family, but I have to go to her grave to see her. We never get to see her again, Williams said. Its a sad situation and with the justice system the way it is, the criminals have all the rights. The victim has no rights.
Williams plans to become an advocate for victims rights in Twiggs County.
For the past year, she has pledged to be the voice for her late baby sister.
He took away something I waited on for 16 years, said Williams, who had four younger brothers before her sister was born. Its still hard, but Ive got to try to pick up the pieces.
Staff writer Amy Leigh Womack and Telegraph archives contributed to this report.