By BOB PALMER
Jimplecute News Editor
District Judge Dean Fowler sentenced Zachary McDaniel, 26, to 80 years in prison following a bench trial last week.
McDaniel pled guilty on Tuesday to a murder charge stemming from the 2017 death of his mother, Tonya Roxanne Kilgore, of the Berea Community. A bloody baseball bat was found near the body.
The trial in 115th Judicial District Court was to determine the sentence.
“It was just a family tragedy,” McDaniel’s attorney Rick Berry said. “The relationship between the mother and Mr. McDaniel had many ups and downs.”
According to Berry, McDaniel had been raised by his grandmother and an aunt.
“Just when things were coming together, this happened,” Berry said.
McDaniel testified his mother said some shocking things to him and he reacted by hitting her with a baseball bat.
“I thought Judge Fowler was fair,” Berry said.
The Jimplecute contacted District Attorney Angela Smoak for comment on the case. Smoak has not returned our call.
“On August 4th, at approximately 4:30 A.M., deputies received a call that initially reported a missing person,” Sheriff David McKnight stated in a press release at the time.
Friends found a trail of blood leading toward the back door of Kilgore’s trailer. They decided it was time to call the Sheriff’s Department.
The responding deputy discovered a large amount of blood inside Kilgore’s residence and notified investigators.
At approximately 7:30 A.M., the body of Ms. Kilgore was discovered, dumped inside an abandoned camper trailer in the woods just north of the residence.
The victim had severe apparent blunt force trauma injuries to the head, McKnight revealed in the press release. McDaniel was arrested on the scene and charged with murder.
Family members stated mother and son had disagreed over him wanting to move his girlfriend in with them.
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