Friday, December 21 2012 12:01 AM EST2012-12-21 05:01:15 GMT
Television news viewers were an integral part in helping police nail down their suspects in the capital murder of Ronnie Gammage. When Longview Police released bank surveillance video, they asked the publicMore >>
Television news viewers were an integral part in helping police nail down their suspects in the capital murder of Ronnie Gammage.More >>
UPSHUR COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -
Sarah Haslam, one of three suspects in the murder of 27-year-old Ronnie Joe Gammage, pleaded guilty to capital murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole on Thursday morning.
On February 4, District Attorney Billy Byrd announced that Haslam would face the death penalty if she went to trial. Haslam, 21, was charged with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping after Gammage's charred body was found in a wooded area near Highway 259 North in Upshur County.
Stoic, emotionless, and expressionless, Haslam listened quietly when she was sentenced to spend the rest of her life in prison.
And then, Ronnie Gammage's family had their chance to confront her.
"I revisit an image that I see over and over, every time I think of it, and that's you going through a bank laughing and having a good old time, and it happened at the same time you tortured and killed RJ," says Ronnie's brother Jeff Ramsey.
Haslam's constant glaring and staring at Ronnie's family drew the anger of Ronnie's mother.
"Go ahead and stare me down if you think you can," said Frankie Gammage.
The Gammage family told KLTV they have long thought Haslam was the ring leader in this case, and it was their turn to tell her what they thought of her sentence.
"You may have received a life sentence but as far as I am concerned you received a death sentence," says sister Angela Dees.
"You disgraced our society. You do not deserve the right to live among all of us in this room. Its going to be all turned around and you'll be the one suffering now. You deserve so much worse than what you're getting," Ramsey says.
Ronnie's family says the believe Haslam made the plea agreement to avoid the death penalty.
Authorities say Gammage was paying one of the suspects to return property stolen from him by other parties. After being unable to cash the check, Haslam and the other suspect located Gammage at the Waffle House in Longview. During an argument, one of Gammage's truck tires was cut. One of the suspects then lured Gammage into Haslam's car and Haslam drove Gammage, Jones and a third unidentified suspect to a construction site on Tryon Road half a mile north of Loop 281.
At this site, Gammage was beaten by the three suspects, including Haslam and Jones. Fearing they would be seen by passing motorists, they drove to a wooded area off of 259 North. Haslam said Gammage was removed from the car and walked into an open field. He was made to sit on the ground and was beaten again. Haslam then claims she returned to the car, leaving Gammage in the hands of the other two suspects. The two suspects then moved Gammage into the edge of the wooded area.
According to Jones' probable cause report, Jones then took out a knife and cut Gammage's throat, which he believe killed him. Then Jones said he poured gasoline on the body and set it on fire.
Nothing can bring Ronnie back. But for his family, they say it is one step closer to justice.
"Ronnie, you'll be missed by your family. We celebrate because we know we had the opportunity to have RJ in our lives," Ramsey said.
BRADENTON BEACH, FL (WFLX) - People are outraged after a Florida couple was caught having sex on a public beach Sunday afternoon in front of dozens of people including children. Bradenton Beach policeMore >>
People are outraged after a Florida couple was caught having sex on a public beach Sunday afternoon in front of dozens of people including children.More >>