Sentenced to life in prison for the 2013 death of his daughter's mother, Brandon Davis smirked and said inaudible remarks to several still-grieving members of Chassity Lester's family who were gathered Monday in a Bibb County courtroom.
Lester's grandmother covered the mouth of the slain woman's sister as the sister yelled back at Davis while Lester's brother tried to calm her and keep her in her seat.
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In a Bibb County Superior Court hearing, Davis, 33, pleaded guilty Monday to murder. He won't be eligible for parole until after he has served 30 years behind bars.
Prosecutor Jonathan Adams said Lester left her mother's home April 1, 2013, and drove to a house on Macon's Flamingo Drive where Davis was housesitting.
Lester, 26, had planned to talk with Davis about child support for their then 3-year-old daughter.
Had the case gone to trial, a witness would have testified that he saw Davis and Lester at the house and heard noises "consistent with sounds of imminent death," Adams said.
Authorities found a hammer with Lester's DNA on it and a knife they believe was used in the killing. After being stabbed and beaten to death, Lester's body was taken to Fairgrounds Road in north Houston County.
Davis then used Lester's cell phone to call 911, Adams said.
Another witness would have testified at trial that Davis, who had blood on his pants and was driving the car Lester had been driving, said on the night of April 1 that he'd killed Lester while cleaning his gun -- but a gun wasn't used in the killing, Adams said.
"He was beginning the fabrications of the defense or story to cover himself," Adams said.
Several other witnesses were set to testify that Davis called them on the morning of April 2 and said Lester had been raped and killed, although her body wasn't discovered by police until that afternoon, he said.
"He had knowledge of the crime before law enforcement," Adams said.
Davis didn't speak during the hearing, aside from answering the judge's questions about his rights and his age.
Lester's mother and brother addressed the judge, pleading for justice.
"Dealing with this ... it's been hard," Chad Lester said. "Every day is a hard day."
He said his sister's daughter still asks for her mother.
"We let her know that her mother is in heaven," Lester said.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398 or find her on Twitter@awomackmacon.