"There's some people who are born into this world that don't deserve to live. You're one of them. Anything short of death is too good for you."
That was the message a resolute Judy Morris sent convicted murderer Morris McCabe Tuesday afternoon during a sentence hearing. McCabe was found guilty in July for the Dec. 2010 deaths of Morris' brother Donald Young, Donald Myers and Sally Amos in a southern Camden County home.
But McCabe — one of the most prolific convicted murderers in central Missouri history — didn't receive the death penalty. Instead, McCabe will spend the rest of his life behind bars serving three consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole — one life sentence for each count of first degree murder — plus an additional 90 years for three counts of armed criminal action.
The death penalty was taken off the table when McCabe exchanged a jury trial for a bench trial — meaning a judge alone decided McCabe's fate.
McCabe showed no emotion during the sentencing as three relatives of the victims shared how their lives had changed since the death of their loved one.
"I never thought I could hate and I really don't," Morris said. "I feel sorry for you."
McCabe, shackled at the wrists and ankles, listened as Donald Myers' mother Louise Myers told McCabe to turn to God.
"Morris, God will forgive you," Louise Myers spoke softly during the hearing in the silent court room. "But you have to ask him. Get down on your knees and ask him."
Those in attendance, plus more than 15 armed law enforcement personnel including Camden County Sheriff Dwight Franklin, listened as Amber Myers, Donald Myers' daughter-in-law, told McCabe of her family's loss.
"You took my children's grandpa," she said through tears. "He was wonderful.... and I am going to forgive you for myself, not for you."
McCabe did not make a statement at the hearing. Circuit Court Judge Ken Hayden explained the timeframe for a possible appeal before officers escorted McCabe out of the courtroom.
Tuesday's hearing is likely the end of a nearly three-year case, dating back to the gruesome discovery of three bodies on Dec. 3, 2010.
At trial earlier in 2013, Camden County Prosecuting Attorney Brian Keedy alleged that McCabe took a stolen firearm and entered Myers' Stoutland home shortly after 8 p.m. on Dec. 2, 2010, shooting the trio at close range — an act Keedy alleged originated out of jealousy.
The crux of the case involved a blood stain on one of gloves found with McCabe at his arrest. Criminalist Ruth Montgomery determined the blood stain matched the DNA standard for Sally Amos. Evidence mismanagement caused a four-and-a-half-month-long delay in the trial as the DNA standard was verified. The trial began in February and concluded in mid-June.
Page 2 of 2 - But when the trial resumed, public defenders Dave Kenyon and Beth Davis-Kerry took issue with the chain of command of the gloves, suggesting law enforcement mishandled the clothing in the case, casting doubt on the credibility of the gloves as evidence.
Hayden said over the course of the trial, he determined the credibility of the evidence. Ultimately, he said, the questions raised by the defense "do not rise to the level of reasonable doubt."
McCabe served time on a previous murder conviction from Lebanon in 1980. He was out of prison for a short time before he was arrested for the Stoutland murders. At the sentencing, McCabe was treated as a prior and persistent offender.