One of the men on trial for killing a Hannibal man pleaded guilty Thursday morning in a St. Charles courtroom.
You'll recall Rodney Wood was beaten to death as he was driving home from a social event last August.
22-year-old Nathan Stice and his attorney reached a plea negotiation in exchange for testifying against the remaining defendant, 23-year-old David
Stice pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and felonious restraint.
KHQA's Rajah Maples attended Thursday morning's hearing, where Stice revealed graphic details about Wood's last moments.Stice told the courtroom that he and Ater had been drinking at Ater's girlfriend's house on the night of August 9th. Stice said the pair were intoxicated when they left.
Stice testified that he and Ater were crossing a street when Wood came upon them on his Moped. The defendant said words were exchange. Stice admitted not only mouthing Wood, but also throwing the first punch. Ater then jumped in and started fighting Wood. Stice testified that he tried to break up the two but then decided to leave them alone. Stice said Ater resorted to hitting Wood with Wood's own helmet.
Stice said he and Ater left Wood lying there unconscious, but Stice told the courtroom that he didn't realize Wood was seriously hurt. The pair then walked to a nearby house to hide from police. That's the house where Stice and Ater are accused of holding some girls against their will.
Cries could be heard in the courtroom as Wood's family and friends listened painfully to the defendant's tragic testimony.
Family and friends of the late Rodney Wood treked an early morning 2-hour drive here to the St. Charles County courthouse Thursday morning, where they arrived at about 8:30 a.m.
We spoke with them off camera about what happened. They preferred not to comment on the case until the sentencing phase, which will take place June 11th.
What will happen at that sentencing hearing is another matter. Stice could get anywhere from seven to 22 years in prison, which would include time for a previous charge in Lewis County. But that depends on whether those years will be served concurrently or consecutively.
In the meantime, Stice was transported back to the Marion County jail where he will remain.
Stice's attorney and Marion County Prosecutor Tom Redington declined comment on today's hearing since Ater's case is still pending. He's expected to go on trial this September.