LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Steele said normally violent crimes are punishable by having to serve 85 percent of a sentence, which would leave Messer having to pull over 29 years in prison before being eligible for parole.
“It is state law that the maximum time you can pull is 20 years without being eligible for parole,” Steele explained.
Steele also said Messer’s case did not qualify for the death penalty because there were no mitigating circumstances such as another violent felony offense that led to the murder of Bobbitt. He was, however, pleased with the 35-year sentence.
“I feel good about the outcome,” he said, “although a person’s life was lost and can never be replaced. But now the defendant will have to think about his actions for the next 20 years.”
David Honeycutt, Bobbitt’s father, said it was an emotional time for his family.
“They couldn’t give him enough time for what he did,” he said. “But it’s good that it will be 20 years before he’s even eligible for parole. And we’re going to send letters to the parole board to review when he is eligible.”
Jackie Honeycutt, the victim’s uncle, said he was happy with the sentence. He was also happy the case ended with a plea agreement, rather than family members having to listen to all the evidence leading up to Pamela Bobbitt’s death. He did say the violent relationship between Messer and Bobbitt was a warning sign to other people involved in tumultuous situations.
He said the history between Bobbitt and Messer had always been violent and Messer was known among family members to abuse the 25-year-old mother of four. The youngest of Bobbitt’s children was fathered by Messer and family members said in previous interviews Messer had even threatened to harm the child if Bobbitt refused to comply with his wishes.
“All women in this situation need to realize that they need to get out,” Jackie Honeycutt said. “It all boils down to the person who is being abused. We can counsel and we can talk all we want to, but it’s really up to the person being abused to decide to get out.”