One of the men involved in a fight over a can of beer, Richard Hendershot, pleaded guilty to murder on Tuesday.
Hendershot, 35, of Steubenville, Ohio will serve life in prison with chance of parole in 20 years. Prosecutor Frank Bruzzese called the crime “vicious and brutal.”
Hendershot changed his original plea of “not guilty” to “guilty” for a long list of changes including the first degree murder of John Hazuda, a man he met in prison on a prior burglary and assault. Tuesday morning in court Hendershot called him a “friend”, something that startled many people including the judge and prosecutor.
“It’s unimaginable that you can have a friend of years, that you can be living together, that you can be sharing beer and you end up beating him to death because he had the last sip,” said Bruzzese.
Bruzzese said the speedy wrap up of this case is all due to the work of police.
“The Steubenville Police Dept. should be commended. They got on the scene lickity-split. They caught the defendant in the act of trying to dispose of the body. Followed up with a gorgeous crime scene investigation. And forensics that would be straight out of CSI,” said Bruzzese.
The other man involved in this case, Victor Lytle, is facing charges of tampering with evidence and falsification and is expected in court later this month.