Murder Defendant Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Murder Defendant Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter

CHAMBERS COUNTY, AL (WXTX A Lanett man pleads to a lesser charge just hours after his murder trial gets underway. The jury didn't have a chance to consider the evidence before Patrick Duffee entered his guilty plea.

Donna Watkins is the victim's widow. She has three young children with the victim, Scotty Watkins. She said the justice system let her down.

 "It's not fair," she said.

Tuesday in court Watkins watched Duffee ended his murder trial suddenly by striking a deal with the district attorney's office. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter, and received a 17 year split sentence, which means he'll serve five years. After his guilty plea, Duffee told the judge he hit Watkins with an axe handle on June 22nd of last year. The blows cracked his skull. Watkins died 15 days later at the hospital.

In opening statements, we learned the two had been arguing over a Sony playstation. Now a son, husband and father is dead, and his family feels they got cheated by the system.

 "Scotty is gone forever. His children don't have a father his family can't enjoy him and watch him grow older it's not fair," said his sister.

The judge gave Duffee credit for time already served leading up to the trial. So that means Duffee will serve four years of that five year sentence.

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