A man who admitted to killing his autistic teenaged roommate before dismembering and burning the body has been sentenced to 60 years in prison.
Christopher Allen Holford, 33, of High Pointe Circle, Lancaster, South Carolina, US, pleaded guilty on Thursday, November 12, to murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime in the death of Austin Tyler Steele, 18.
Holford admitted shooting Steele in the throat in February 2018, and the teenager survived for hours after the February 2018 shooting, 6th Circuit assistant solicitor Luck Campbell said in court.
The court heard that Holford then cut up the body and buried burned bones around a mobile home, where the two men had lived with Holford's wife Brandy Nicole Faye Duncan, 22.
Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office deputies discovered Steele’s body parts in March 2018 after receiving a tip-off about the shooting.
Assistant Solicitor Melissa McGinnis, who was part of a team that prosecuted the case, said: “Bones and burned body parts were found all over the property.”
On Thursday, Holford didn’t speak in court, except to plead guilty, the Rock Hill Herald reported.
The 33-year-old initially denied any involvement in Steele’s death, and according to prosecutors, blamed the murder on his wife, Duncan.
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But Holford is said to have later admitted to killing Steele and covering up his death in statements to police and letters sent from jail.
In those letters, Holford called the killing and dismemberment “a sloppy kill,” court testimony showed.
He signed one letter, “Hatchet Man,” and claimed to be sorry for the killing, prosecutors said.
Holford is a registered sex offender who was released from a Missouri prison in 2016 after a child molesting conviction, according to prosecutors and court records.
Holford also has other convictions for drugs and weapons violations that date back to 2005..
Court testimony showed that his plea deal was for a 50 to 60-year sentence.
Steele’s sister said in court that Steele was autistic, and was sweet and loving.
“Austin did not deserve what was done to him,” his sister, Angela Sistar, said in court, adding that she thought Holford was a “cold-blooded murderer.”
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