SANFORD, N.C. — A man who confessed to beating an 11-year old boy to death won't die for the crime. A veteran prosecutor called the plea deal one of the most difficult decisions he has ever made.
Victor Gamble returned to court Thursday on charges he killed 11-year-old Bradley Way. Gamble pled guilty to first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and felony breaking and entering.
"It's a little bit of closure, but it's not going to bring Brad back," said Bradley Way's father, Chris Way.
Investigators say Gamble broke into the Way's home, was surprised to find the boy inside and beat him to death.
"If you're going to come in and steal something, steal and leave," said Chris Way. "But when you cross that line and kill an innocent kid, that's just the bottom line."
With his plea deal, Gamble will spend life in prison without parole. Prosecutors were seeking the death penalty. District Attorney Tom Lock said they took the plea because of concerns a jury might find Gamble not guilty of murder.
"I do believe, under all the circumstances, justice is served in this case," said Lock.
"To me, it's not the proper punishment, but its better then not getting anything at all," said Bradley Way's stepmother, Laurie Way.
"All he's trying to do is save his life, and the way I look at it, if he wants to spend the rest of his life in jail, so be it," said Chris Way.
Bradley Way will be remembered by most as the kid who loved baseball. They even retired his number at the field where he played.
"Baseball was his life," said Chris Way.
Bradley Way's family went to court Thursday to watch the plea deal. Lock spoke with the family at length before agreeing to accept it. The Ways said they support the final decision.