FAYETTEVILLE, TN (WAFF) - The second man charged with first-degree murder in a string of killings in Alabama and Tennessee pleaded guilty Wednesday.
Henry Burrell is charged with the mass murders of six people including an unborn child in Lincoln and Madison Counties.
Wednesday afternoon, Burrell pleaded guilty to all six murders and agreed to serve two consecutive life sentences, waiving his right to trial and an appeal.
Burrell told the court he agreed the state could prove everything the District Attorney described in detailing the murders. When the judge asked Burrell why he wanted to plead guilty, he said he "wanted to get it over with."
His public defender, Donna Hargrove, said after seeing his co-defendant Zakkawanda Moss get convicted and sentenced, he wanted to strike a deal. She said he wanted to avoid the death penalty and spare his family from hearing the details.
Burrell's decision was something Jessica Brown's mother never saw coming, but hoped for every day, a thought echoed by the District Attorney's office as well as the investigators who worked on the case for over a year.
While the sentence gave most people some degree of comfort and closure, what Burrell did on his way out of the courtroom shocked and disgusted many present. As he walked past cameras, Burrell winked and nodded, and performed the same actions to family members of the victims.
"He's an animal," said Madison County investigator Brent Patterson. "He'll have to answer to that. Maybe not today, but he will have to answer to that."
"For him to act like that in our courtroom doesn't surprise me at all," said District Attorney Rob Carter. "This is what happens to people who make those types of decision. That only makes me more firm in my belief that what we did is good, not only for the state but society as a whole."
The other man convicted in the killings, Zakkawanda Moss, was sentenced for his role in the 2012 murders on Tuesday. Moss will serve six consecutive life terms.
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