Hazard triple shooting suspect accepts plea deal

HAZARD, Ky. (WKYT) A man charged with murdering the mother of his child and two of her relatives is taking a plea deal that will have him spending the rest of his life in prison.

January 15, 2013 is the day Missy Cornett’s life changed forever.

That’s when Dalton Stidham shot three people in the parking lot of Hazard Community and Technical College.

The mother of his child, Caitlyn Cornett, her uncle Doug and Doug's daughter Taylor were killed.

“He’s never going to get out. He can’t do it to anyone else,” Missy Cornett said.

Police say Stidham used a semi-automatic pistol that he bought from a local pawn shop hours before the shooting. He later surrendered to Kentucky State Police.

“We were really tight, all four of us. That’s why it’s so hard,” Cornett added.

In exchange for a guilty plea Stidham agreed to a deal of three life sentences to be served consecutively without the possibility of parole. Without that deal he could have been facing the death penalty.

“I didn’t want to feel like I was giving up on my family. But I had to look at the ones that are here and we’re still in so much pain,” Cornett said.

She still struggles with forgiving the person that flipped her world upside down.

“I don’t hate him. I don’t feel hate. It’s not who I am. But I’m not at forgiveness yet,” Missy added.

She still wants to know why Stidham opened fire that night, but knows she may never get that answer.

“All the court dates I’ve shown up, he doesn’t look at me. He just looks down. But I did speak up and say the deal was more than what he deserved,” Missy said.

A judge will decide to accept or deny the plea deal at Stidham’s sentencing set for June 5th.


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