A Wayne County family is outraged tonight because the man who killed one of their loved ones has been allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge.
Amber Andrews was shot in the head last February as she was driving home to Wayne County from work. Her estranged husband, Anthony Pace, was arrested and charged with murder. After two postponements, the case took a twist late Monday afternoon.
The Andrews family says Wayne County's assistant to the district attorney called them Monday, not only to tell them the trial for the man who killed their daughter Amber would be postponed for a third time, but that Anthony Pace, the killer, might plead a lesser charge than first degree murder. That was this morning. Late Monday, the family found out Anthony Pace pleaded guilty to second degree murder.
"This man drove to this spot. Turned around and followed my daughter twenty-something miles down the road and killed her. This is not a crime of passion. This is a point blank, if I can't have you, nobody else will," said Ken Dueitt, Amber Andrews' father.
Amber Andrews expressed fear to her aunt as they spoke on the phone, moments before she died.
"Right before he shot her, within a minute, and she told me how afraid she was. It's not a crime of passion-- He had been terrorizing her," said LaDonna Dueitt.
Under second degree murder, Pace could face 20-40 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for March 4. The Andrews family says they think the reason why the district attorney wants to serve Anthony Pace with a lesser charge is because it would be more cost effective than going through a trial and locking him up for life.
"And I'm really, really angry. But for him to be able to serve twenty years and get out, that's not justice," Ken Dueitt said.
Dueitt said Mississippi laws are convoluted.
"Do not run around doing any dope in the state of Mississippi. Don't have a marijuana joint in your pocket or anything like that because they'll lock ya up for life," he said.
"You can murder somebody all you want to and get away with it. Now what kind of system are we living in now?"
"Amber is gone. The only relationship we get to have from her from this day forward is to go to her grave site," said LaDonna Dueitt.