By Ashli Sims, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- A murder trial ends before it could begin. A man charged with the murder of a Tulsa pawn shop employee has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder.
As jury selection got underway in Tulsa County District Court Tuesday morning, the Tulsa County DA's office said Marquaillo Holbert pleaded guilty in the April 2007 death of pawn shop clerk Cody Holmes.
The family of Cody Holmes is breathing a sigh of relief. Their loved one was gunned down while working at an E-Z Pawn. They've waited almost two and a half years to bring his killer to justice.
"Anybody that met Cody loved him. He had a smile that just wouldn't quit," said Doug Holmes, Cody Holmes' father.
Cody Holmes can still light up a room, even if it's just from a picture on a mantle.
"That's Cody. He was always that way. No matter where he was or what he was doing, he always had that smile," said Doug Holmes.
His father and sisters have shed a lot of tears over his death. Now they finally can share his smile.
"We were thrilled today when the district attorney called," said Doug Holmes.
20-year-old Cody was working at an E-Z Pawn two and a half years ago when his life came to a violent end. Police arrested one suspect just days after the shooting, but the other was on the run for months.
Cody's family thought they may never capture the man who pulled the trigger. The family says every day they wondered where he was.
Officers caught up to Marquaillo Holbert in Texas.
He was brought back to Tulsa to face murder charges. He had rejected a plea before, but just before jury selection was set to begin, Holbert changed his mind.
"Admit to what he did and move on, because none of us wanted to go back through what we went through two and a half years ago. Even though we think about it a lot, we didn't want to relive every single moment again," said Karie Starrett, Cody Holmes' sister.
At times, the family says it is still pretty tough.
"Well, it's been hard because we were all real close just hanging out. And there are certainly times that are harder than others," said Tasha Holmes, Cody Holmes' sister.
"We really miss him," said Doug Holmes, "It's over now and I'm sure Cody is in a better place."
Marquaillo Holbert was sentenced to 40 years in prison. He will have serve at least 34 years before he's eligible for parole.