LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — It will be at least 20 years before 35-year-old Sean Messer will have the opportunity to make parole, after pleading guilty Tuesday morning to the murder of his girlfriend.
Messer entered the guilty plea before Laurel Circuit Judge Greg Lay, just minutes before he was scheduled to begin trial for the Oct. 22, 2012 stabbing death of his girlfriend, 25-year-old Pamela Honeycutt Bobbitt.
Messer agreed to serve 35 years in prison, and according to Kentucky law, must serve at least 20 years before his first parole eligibility on the murder charge. As part of the plea agreement, the charges of fleeing police and resisting arrest were dismissed. Messer will be formally sentenced on Nov. 25.
An uneaten McDonald’s sandwich still laid in the yard outside the apartment that Bobbitt and Messer shared the morning after the stabbing that cost Bobbitt her life. Neighbors reported seeing Messer attack Bobbitt in the yard after she returned from the fast food restaurant, then the physical altercation went inside, where Messer stabbed Bobbitt numerous times and fled the scene. He was taken into custody hours later after trying to take Bobbitt’s car from a nearby car dealership where she had dropped it off for repairs. Messer has been held in the Laurel County Detention Center under a $250,000 cash bond since his arrest on Oct. 23 of last year.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Jackie Steele said the 35 years in prison was a good sentence for Messer, as he could have received between 20 to 50 years, or life imprisonment, had the case gone before a jury. The plea agreement has been on the table for Messer for quite some time, he said, but Messer declined acting on it until minutes before the trial was set to begin.
“We were set to start at 9 a.m. and they came to us about 8:55,” Steele said. “He’s had offers since Oct. 30 and even asked for more time to consider them. We went over there (Laurel County Detention Center) several times last week to discuss it but it wasn’t until today that (defense attorneys - Jennifer Milligan and Roger Gibbs from the Office of Public Advocacy) came to us.”