In a plea bargain, 20-year-old Ricky Thompson agreed to serve life in prison for the murder of 2009 UT graduate Stacy Barnett. However, there are strict caveats and if not followed, Thompson will also serve time for the murder of Barnett's boyfriend, which he too as been indicted for.
Stacy Barnett's family and friends packed Judge Julie Kocurek's courtroom Monday afternoon. Her father and sister took to the stand to confront a man they call an "evil monster" for brutally taking her life.
Thompson raised his right hand and swore that he was the person who fatally shot Stacy Barnett in her West Campus condo in July of last year.
Court documents show Thompson shot her multiple times, as well as her boyfriend, John Goosey.
Thompson told police he owed Goosey nearly $9,000 for marijuana and killing Goosey was the only way to get out of his debt. He said he had to kill Barnett because she was there.
"I don't know how anybody can do that," Barnett's aunt, Phyllis Tom, said.
Pointing to a picture of Stacy Tom continued, "This is all we have of Stacy. Ricky's parents are lucky. His parents can go visit him all the time. You know where we have to visit Stacy? This [pointing to a picture of Stacy's grave] is where we have to visit Stacy every single day. This is where we go every single day."
Last week, police say Thompson implicated two more men in the murders. Thompson said Roy Renick and Samuel Gifford helped him plot the crime. Thompson says that involved even re-arranging his bedroom furniture to look like the inside of the condo so they could run through the plans.
Both Renick and Gifford have now been charged with capital murder.
Because of Thompson's cooperation, the prosecution agreed to allow him to plead guilty to first degree murder for Barnett's death. That carries a life sentence with a chance for parole in 30 years. If Thompson does not testify truthfully against Renick and Gifford, he will be tried for the murder of John Goosey and could face life without parole.
Prosecutors can also charge him with tampering with evidence for burning items he took out of the condo and dumping shell casings over the edge of Mount Bonnell.
Prosecutors say Thompson will eventually come back and plead guilty to the murder of Goosey. That life sentence will run concurrent with the one for Barnett.
Thompson's attorney declined to comment.