Biloxi Murder Suspect Changes Plea And Avoids Death Penalty

Joshua Ryan Teague had shackles on his feet when he walked into the courtroom. Teague was about to tell Judge Steve Simpson about how he cased Debuys Road with another defendant, looking for the easiest home to burglarize.

"Me and McKamey broke into the house," was how Teague opened his confession.

McKamey is Matthew McKamey. Teague called him an accomplice.

Teague remembered seeing Ivy Elizabeth Jewel Moore sleeping in her chair on that February 23, 2005 evening.

"He started stabbing her, so I picked up and started stabbing her, too," the 21-year-old said.

According to assistant DA mark Ward, 23 stab wounds covered her body. Yet, Teague noticed the 93-year-old Biloxi woman still wasn't dead.

"She kind of flipped over on the floor. I put a pillow on her face and smothered her," he admitted.

The suspect said he stole a TV, a VCR and some jewelry from Mrs. Moore's Biloxi home. Those items were quickly sold at a pawn shop.

As the confession continued, Vernna Moore wiped away a tear. She's Mrs. Moore's daughter-in-law.

"She was a little tiny woman. Why didn't he just put her in a closet?" she wondered after the hearing.

The relative sat right behind the defendant while he confessed to this gruesome crime, and admitted he returned to the scene while police were there, to make sure Mrs. Moore was dead.

Assistant DA Ward explained to the judge the evidence investigators collected that led to Teague's arrest, and his subsequent confession.

"The night of his first statement, he actually took the Biloxi Police Department to the wooded area around the victim's home where they found the murder weapon that the defendant had thrown into the bushes," Ward said.

The Moores were in Florida two days ago. When they heard about Teague's decision to change his plea, they rushed home.

"This was hard for us to decide to take the plea," Mrs. Moore said. "But we felt it was best in the long run to get it done and not have to keep reliving this over and over and over."

Teague could have received the death penalty if a jury heard this case. By pleading guilty on the eve of his trial, Judge Simpson gave Teague the next stiffest penalty.

"I sentence you to a term of life in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections without the benefit of parole, probation or early release," the judge announced.

George Shaddock was Teague's defense attorney.

"I think the state in this case has made a lenient recommendation," he told Judge Simpson.

The judge looked at Teague and said that based on his experience, a jury likely would have sentenced the 21-year-old to death.

Before the 21 minute court hearing ended, Teague was asked if he had anything to say. The defendant simply said, "No sir."

That infuriated the victim's children.

"I just couldn't believe he didn't say he was sorry to us," the daugher-in-law said. "He didn't even apologize. He didn't seem remorseful at all. I think he could have at least said he was sorry for what he did."

Matthew McKamey is also charged with capital murder in this case. His trial was supposed to begin once Teague's trial ended. The victim's family is hoping McKamey will also change his plea, because the Moores really don't want to sit through a capital murder trial.