GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Devin Gregory, the final defendant charged in the grizzly death of Tena Broadus, was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison. Twenty of those years will be served in MDOC custody, while the remaining 10 will be under supervised release.
Gregory pleaded guilty earlier this year for second-degree murder in the 2015 case. He was originally indicted for first-degree murder.
It's finally a chance for the family of Tena Broadus to move on with their lives after three years of court proceedings.
"It's been extremely difficult," said Tena's aunt, Leigh Anne Broadus. "Some of the family members could not come because of it."
During his plea hearing, Gregory told the court that on the day in question he was at Joshua Peterman's house before Broadus arrived. When she got there, an argument took place and a struggle ensued. During that struggle, Broadus was taken out back and tied up inside a building behind the home.
Gregory, one five defendants in the case, and his family made tearful pleas for leniency.
Gregory told Judge Chris Schmidt that he did not participate in the assault of Broadus in 2015, that he wasn't present at the time of her death, nor did he participate in the disposal of her body.
His attorneys Stephen Simpson and Michelle Elliott reiterated Gregory's cooperation with law enforcement.
Gregory said he left before co-defendants Kari Parker, Natasha Sellers, Aaron Bobinger and Joshua Peterman took the body to O'Neal Road to get rid of it.
Gregory said the next day he went with Peterman and Parker to make sure Broadus's remains were gone.
Gulfport Police started investigating in September 2015 when Broadus's family first reported her missing. A month later, her seemingly burned remains were found in a wooded area near O'Neal Road.
District attorney Joel Smith says he believes justice was served.
"This is one of the most brutal and senseless killings that I've ever seen," he said.
He also called this a complex and tough case.
"This was a case where the defendants were pretty diligent in trying to hide their tracks and cover the crime that they committed," Smith said. "The Gulfport Police Department didn't rest, and they make sure they worked until this case was solved."
Leigh Anne Broadus, said that this day has significant meaning.
"Today is a threshold that we've crossed that we've been waiting for," she said. "It's been a long process. And it's sad to say that it does take so long in these types of things."
Likewise, she said, healing will take time.
"I'm not going to say that we have peace - but we are satisfied with what has happened," she said.
- Joshua Anthony Peterman was sentenced to life without parole following his trial in June.
- Co-Defendant Kari Parker, who previously pleaded guilty to second degree murder, was sentenced to 30 years with 17 years suspended leaving 13 to serve with the remainder on post-release supervision for her role in the 2015 Murder.
- Natasha Sellers, who previously pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to murder, was sentenced to 20 years with 15 years suspended leaving 5 years to serve and the remainder on post-release supervision.