BOLIVAR, Mo. (AP) _ A man who already faces the death penalty in Oklahoma and Tennessee admitted Monday that he fatally stabbed a Missouri man with a butcher knife.
Circuit Judge John W. Sims ordered a sentence of life in prison for Steven Ray Thacker, a 32-year-old former resident of Chocteau, Okla., after he entered a plea of guilty to a charge of first-degree murder.
Prosecutors said Thacker killed Forrest Boyd, 24, inside his home in Aldrich, Mo., on Jan. 1, 2000, during a three-state crime spree.
Thacker was flown to Missouri on Monday from a prison in Tennessee for the hearing in Polk County.
Prosecutor John Porter had planned to seek the death penalty against Thacker. But after meeting with Thacker's public defender, Porter filed an amended charge of first-degree murder and requested a punishment of life in prison.
Porter said the plea satisfied him and Boyd's relatives, who declined to comment.
``The family preferred for it to be disposed of this way,'' Porter said.
Sims said the Missouri sentence will act as a detainer if anything happened to alter his convictions in Tennessee or Oklahoma.
Authorities said the crime spree started with the Dec. 23, 1999, fatal stabbing of Laci Dawn Hill, 25, of Bixby, Okla., whom Thacker later was convicted of killing. She had advertised a pool table for sale at her Tulsa County home and Thacker answered the ad.
On New Year's Day, Thacker stole a car from Boyd's home in rural Polk County, about 20 miles north of Springfield, and stabbed Boyd to death. A credit card belonging to Boyd was used the following morning in Tennessee, where Thacker was later convicted of killing Ray Patterson, 52, of Dyersburg, Tenn.