Kathy Oxford misses her son terribly, but she realized a murder trial would not bring him back.
Two years and four days after Daryl Oxfords body was found in Crawford County woods, Jeffrey Bryan Averett pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and concealing a death.
Its over now, said Oxford, who traveled with her family from Jones County to Knoxville for the April 25 plea. All things considered, we thought it was best.
Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Bobbitt was preparing to take the case to trial when Averett admitted that he shot Oxford in the chest. The 50-year-old was sentenced to 28 years and is expected to serve 18 years on the manslaughter charge and spend the next 10 years on probation for concealing the death, Bobbitt said.
Oxford, a 39-year-old former medic in the Army, was found wrapped in bed linens on the grounds of the Camp Benjamin Hawkins Boy Scout retreat a dozen days after he was last seen alive at Averetts house April 9, 2012.
Oxford and his girlfriend had been staying with Averett at his home on Pottery Road, south of Lizella.
GBI forensic agents found evidence early on that Oxford had been killed on the property.
Searchers began looking for the body and homed in on the woods south of Jordan Road.
Averett was initially arrested on a kidnapping charge for allegedly detaining Oxfords girlfriend while he was disposing of the body, GBI case agent Jerrilynn Coody said.
The two men were drug associates, Coody said, and Averett had taken a shine to the woman.
Daryl actually had a wonderful career, she said. Its just a sad story of what drugs can do to you.
His mother hopes Oxfords last few years wont define his life.
He did a lot of good things, Kathy Oxford said. He had this mind that never stopped.
The district attorneys office consulted the family before the plea.
Oxford was relieved her three grandchildren were spared the details of their fathers death, which would have been presented at trial.
She said prosecutors went out of their way to be kind to them.
We werent just another case, she said. They treated us with a lot of respect.
Information from The Telegraph archives contributed to this report. To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.