Just before a Perry County capitol murder trial begins...a plea agreement is reached.
Billy Caress was indicted by a grand jury for the robbery and murder of Hazard native, Thomas Floyd in 2005.
Caress originally faced the death penalty.
During a visit with friends in October 2005, Thomas Floyd had a fatal heart attack, but it's what happened before his arrhythmia that brought Billy Caress before a circuit court judge.
"We had a clear robbery," says Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Robert Stephens. "The medical examiner was very clear that it was her opinion that robbery led to the death."
Police say caress was after drugs when he and Floyd got into a fist fight. Police originally charged Caress with manslaughter among other crimes, but a grand jury indicted him for capitol murder.
After special prosecutor, Robert Stephens took over the case, he says several pieces of evidence made him decide the death penalty was not, in fact, appropriate.
Like, the fact that Floyd was on drugs at the time that can cause arrhythmia.
In a jail house interview, Billy Caress apologized to Floyd's family on WYMT for what happened.
Now two years later, Caress pleads guilty to his involvement in the crime.
Billy Caress pleaded guilty to amended charges of reckless homicide and second degree robbery. He'll be formally sentenced later this month.
Family members in the courtroom didn't want to comment.