ATHENS, ALA. (WHNT) - A sudden end to a Limestone County murder trial that wasn't set to begin until Tuesday. James Paul Pigg pleaded guilty to murdering his grandmother Monday morning. Barbara Delaney was bludgeoned and then shot to death at her home on Lydia Corey Road about two years ago.
James Pigg would not respond to reporter's questions as he was led from the Limestone County Judicial Center. He was moved back to the county jail to await processing into the state prison system.
Attorneys were in court just last week arguing over what evidence might be presented during Pigg's trial. Defense attorneys did not want prosecutors to introduce the hammer into evidence that Pigg allegedly used to beat his grandmother. Circuit Court Judge James Woodroof ruled, however, prosecutors were free to introduce the hammer as evidence. That hammer, along with a clip or magazine from the gun believed to be used to kill Barbara Delaney, were both found in the backwaters of the Tennessee River near Decatur several months after the killing. Prosecutors say Pigg confided in a cellmate, telling him where he had disposed of the weapons. They, along with a 911 call in which Delaney could be heard in the background pleading for her life, and eyewitness testimony, was key among the evidence prosecutors were prepared to present.
"This was a horrific crime," explained Limestone County District Attorney Brian Jones. He added, "While he's in prison I hope he has a chance to reflect on what he had done to her and to his family."
Pigg, pleading guilty to a charge of murder, was given the maximum sentence, life in prison but with the possibility of parole, eventually.
Piggs mother, watching as he was led away this morning, cried saying she had lost her mother and was now loosing her son. "This ain't gonna bring my mama back. This ain't gonna, this ain't gonna do that. All it's gonna do is hurt me more," cried Dianne Harber, expressing the heartache of a woman mourning the death of her mother and now the loss of her son.
"Oh God, I feel like I'm gonna die. I feel like I'm gonna die." Her grief unspeakable, a mother who struggles to understand why her son took the life of her mother.
"I would like to know what actually happened and why," Harber told reporters.
"The two of them had been going back and forth for quite a while over this car. And his grandmother took the keys away from him. And he was a very spoiled child and retaliated and killed her over it," Jones said.
The district attorney has told us many times there are no winners in cases like this. Barbara Delaney lost her life. Her grandson, James Pigg, has lost his freedom. And his mother has lost them both.
"And I feel like I've lost everything, everything," Harber says.
Pigg will eventually be eligible for parole, but prosecutors say that won't happen anytime soon.