A capital murder co-defendant has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Casey Ledbetter pleaded guilty to killing Joanie Parker and her son Derek Hale near Idalou last year. Ledbetter's wife, Meredith, pleaded guilty last month to participating in the 2011 killings. She is serving a life sentence.
District Attorney Matt Powell didn't say much on the case until Casey Ledbetter's trial. He said stealing money was the bottom-line motive.
"Law enforcement's theory was that they had killed the son, and because of that, they were trying to get some money from mother," Powell said. "They had done some things and told her some things, that she needed to bail him out of trouble, talking about Derek."
Powell said regardless, he saw nothing but forgiveness in the victim's family members.
"God changes hearts, and empowers hearts," Powell said. "There's no question that that's what their motivation is. They have, from the beginning, always offered forgiveness to both parties in this case, and it is amazing. It is rare that you see it."
Powell said the outcome is a good resolution for the case and the families involved.