After the man responsible for a Brownsville man’s murder admitted guilt in court and privately apologized to his victim’s family, healing can now begin for the family of Jeremy Priddy.
A military judge at Fort Campbell on Wednesday sentenced Army Spc. Robbie Knight, 35, to 52 years in prison for Priddy’s death.
Knight pleaded guilty in court to killing Priddy, who was found beaten and shot to death Oct. 9, 2012, in his 209 Ray Vincent Road home.
“It was like re-living the murder and funeral all over again,” Priddy’s mother Vonnie Priddy said of the plea and sentencing hearing. “It was very emotionally and physically draining. It was awful. We’d started to heal for 19 months, and now the wounds have been reopened and we have to start healing all over again.”
Knight submitted an offer March 14 to a military court to plead guilty to premeditated murder violating Article 118 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, violating Article 124, with a specification of maiming; and housebreaking, violating Article 130, Fort Campbell spokesman Robert Jenkins said. Knight had been assigned to the 716th Military Police Battalion.
His guilty plea offer was accepted Monday by a convening authority, usually a general in charge of the defendant’s command. He offered the plea in court officially Tuesday. On Wednesday, Knight was sentenced.
Kentucky State Police, which conducted a joint investigation with the U.S. Army, said Knight pleaded guilty to maiming and premeditated murder, according to a release from KSP Post 3 spokesman Jonathan Biven. Jenkins said Knight also pleaded guilty to housebreaking.
Priddy’s girlfriend, Makalla Knight, who was married to Robbie Knight and in the process of trying to get a divorce when Priddy died, found Priddy lifeless in his living room after she and her daughter, along with Priddy’s sister, came home from a gymnastics class.
“I will never be over this,” Vonnie Priddy said. “It’s going to take lots of time to be able to function normally again. I’m glad this part is behind us.”
Priddy’s family is satisfied with the sentence.
“We feel like that he will be a very old man before he will get out,” Priddy said. “We weren’t willing to go to trial and take the chance that he would not get convicted.”
Knight requested to speak privately with Jeremy’s family.
“He told us he was sorry for what he had put us through,” Priddy said. “He could’ve walked away at any time, but he chose not to. Jeremy in no way provoked him. He said Jeremy told him on the phone early in 2012 that Makalla and the kids didn’t need him anymore and for him to leave them alone. He said that he could not stand the thought of another man with his kids and wife. As of today, he still has refused to sign the divorce papers.”
“I had thought that once he was sentenced, I would probably have an outburst and attack him verbally, but when I met with him it changed my mind because I would gain nothing. I’m glad that he was man enough to admit what he did and to take the stand and say what he did and then to ask for our forgiveness.
“I told him that as a Christian I cannot have hatred in my heart for anyone, and someday I will be able to forgive him, but not right now,” Priddy said.
Priddy’s family also met with Robbie Knight’s family.
“His family did come on Tuesday, and they told us how sorry they were, and they didn’t raise him that way, and we told them that we didn’t hold them responsible because it was Robbie’s actions and not theirs, and we were sorry that they were having to go through this also,” Priddy said.