Bellevue man pleads guilty to 2012 triple murder - WSMV Channel 4

Bellevue man pleads guilty to 2012 triple murder

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Craig Garber Craig Garber

A man accused of killing three members of a Bellevue family gave up his case Thursday and pleaded guilty to the crime.

Craig Garber will serve three consecutive life sentences as part of a deal to avoid the death penalty.

Garber did not say much during the brief hearing, but in doing so it seems he said everything.

When the judge asked him to confirm his plea, Garber simply said, "Yes."

The deaths of Marylea Jordan, 71, her daughter, Michelle Pinkowski, and her son Jonathan Culpepper, 14, inside their Beech Bend Drive home in September 2012 shocked the community and shattered Mike Jordan's world.

"This was the best decision that we thought we could get out of the situation," Mike Jordan said.

In a single night, Garber stabbed and killed Mike's sister, his mother and his nephew. When police arrived, they found Garber covered in his own blood and screaming he deserved to die.

The prosecutor believes a death penalty case could have lasted two years and delved deeply into Garber's mental issues.

"Obviously, he has had some significant mental issues, I think. And I think, in this particular case, they all came together and he just kind of exploded finally and, unfortunately, we had three victims that were there when it happened," said Deputy District Attorney Tom Thurman.

The judge thoroughly questioned Garber about his decision, and the state read aloud the set of events.

When the judge asked if the account was true, Garber again replied, "Yes."

The 15-minute hearing brought an end to a terrible story and brought a small degree of closure for those dealing daily with the loss.

"We're good for him to get on out of his little holding cell he's in and out into population," Mike Jordan said. "The death penalty - we did not believe that was a good justice system for him to have. We believe living the rest of life in jail is the best thing possible."

As part of his plea deal, Garber will not have a sentencing hearing and cannot appeal.

A life sentence carries a term of at least 51 years before a defendant is eligible to go before the parole board. Garber would need to serve 153 years before being eligible for parole, according to the Davidson County District Attorney General.

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