OKLAHOMA CITY — A man accused of killing a local bookstore owner has pleaded guilty in an Oklahoma County courtroom as part of a plea deal.
On Monday morning, 42-year-old Kenton Eugene Busby pleaded guilty to one count of arson and one count of first-degree murder in the death of 66-year-old Kelly Hays.
"It's just so terrible to us that he's not around anymore," said Colleen Hays, Kelly's sister. "We loved him so much, and the way he was killed was just terrible."
Kelly owned 30 Penn Books, and his body was found under a pile of burned books back in September.
Busby spoke to the court on Monday, saying “I know nothing I say will stop the pain. But, I’m sorry I killed Kelly Hays.”
Several of Kelly’s family members also spoke in court, saying he was stabbed 19 times and they were shocked to learn Busby barely knew him.
"I sort of feel relieved that I'm out of the room with him, and I'm just relieved this part is over but I know that there's a gaping hole in my life. So, it's not like there's closure," Colleen said after the judge accepted the plea deal.
Busby will be sentenced to life in prison for the arson charge and life without parole for the first-degree murder charge, which will be served consecutively.
"He stabbed him 19 times, and Kelly tried to escape. He chased him, stabbed him again, and then he piled books on top of him and set up a fire. Anybody that did that kind of viciousness and inhumane kind of conduct, I just don't believe, I just didn't buy his sense of remorse there," said Michael Hays, Kelly's brother.
"I know that maybe some people would say justice wasn't done, but Kenton Busby is put away for life and has no right for parole and so he can't do this to anybody else," Colleen said.
As part of the plea deal, Busby voluntarily waived his right to appeal.
His probation from a 2002 rape and kidnapping case and a 2014 assault and battery case is now revoked.