A 44-year-old Macon man has been sentenced to serve two simultaneous life sentences in prison after he pleaded guilty Monday to fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend in 2009.
Kenneth Stokes, of Houston Avenue, admitted during the Bibb County Superior Court hearing that he went into 27-year-old Melody Marie Benoit’s Vivian Drive home and found her in bed with 34-year-old Kelvin Prater on the night of May 2, 2009, or the early morning of May 3, 2009.
Stokes said he and Benoit had been in an on-again, off-again relationship and at one point had applied for a marriage license.
He said he usually kept a gun in his trunk following an unrelated incident while traveling for work.
“If I hadn’t had that gun on me, it would have been different,” Stokes said.
Benoit and Prater were found dead with multiple gunshot wounds after one of Benoit’s three children discovered the bodies and called 911, authorities have said.
One of the children told police he heard loud noises and Stokes came in with a flashlight. Stokes told the children that “everything was OK” and that they should go back to sleep, according to an arrest warrant.
Benoit and Prater were each shot twice — Benoit in the head and neck and Prater in the head and chest, Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones has said.
Stokes later was arrested in Dothan, Ala., prosecutor John Regan said.
Several of the victims’ friends and family members attended Monday’s court hearing. Two women spoke during the proceeding, explaining how the killing has affected their lives.
Before sentencing Stokes, Judge Tripp Self read two letters written by Prater’s 11-year-old son.
The first letter was addressed to Stokes.
The boy wrote that he forgave Stokes and cautioned him that “violence don’t solve anything, it just gets you in trouble,” Self read.
The boy pleaded with the judge in the second letter not to release Stokes from jail.
He wrote that he no longer has his father to take him to baseball games.
“I don’t act the same because he killed my daddy,” the boy said in the letter.
Stokes’ lawyer, Rick Waller, said Stokes is sorry and takes responsibility for his actions.
“If he could, he would take it back,” he said.