HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - It was a drug deal gone wrong. That's why a Saucier man said he shot another man to death in 2014. Now, Steven Hagin will spend the next 40 years in prison for the murder of Brian Bachtel.
Prosecutors say Hagin, 29, pleaded guilty Tuesday to second degree murder in the death of Bachtel, who shot to death in June 2014 and dumped in a wooded area in Harrison County. Because Hagin is a habitual offender, officials say he will serve his sentence day-for-day without the possibility of parole.
Bachtel's family reported him missing on June 15, 2014, nearly two weeks after they had last seen him. Prosecutors say Harrison County Sheriff's Office quickly narrowed in on Hagin as a suspect. Deputies found Hagin hiding in a friend's apartment on June 20, 2014.
The district attorney's office said Hagin admitted to investigators that he shot Bachtel with a .410 handgun because he did not have enough money to buy drugs that he had asked Bachtel to bring him. Hagin reportedly told investigators that he hid the body in the woods after he shot him.
Sheriff's deputies were able to locate the body later that same night in a wooded area off Bell Creek Road in the northern part of Harrison County. Bachtel's vehicle - which had also been reported missing by family - was also found there, as well. Authorities say the body was badly decomposed, with only the skeletal remains left.
"Investigators also found the shotgun used to commit the murder in a nearby house," said Alison Baker, the assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case. "The shotgun was sent to the State Crime Lab, where DNA matching the victim's blood was found on it."
During his guilty plea, prosecutors say Hagin apologized to the Bachtel's family and said he may have hallucinated, thinking Bachtel was attacking him after the pair had consumed drugs together.
At that point, Harrison County Circuit Court Judge Lisa Dodson told Hagin, "You have ruined your life and Brian Bechtel's life, all because of drugs." She then sentenced him to the maximum sentence available for the crime - 40 years without parole.