Man enters guilty plea in Martin County death

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

Nine years after police say a Martin County man was murdered, a suspect admits he is partly responsible.

On June 23rd, 2002, Patrick Calvin Blackburn's car was found over a hill on Trace Fork. Blackburn was in the back seat covered in blood. Police say he was beaten and then his car staged to look like a wreck. The case went cold until last year when police indicted Stepp, David Jude, and Jimmy Cornette, Jr. on murder charges.

Thursday morning, Jerry Stepp accepted a plea deal. His charge was reduced to manslaughter in exchange to testify against the other two suspects.

Patrick Calvin Blackburn's family did not want to comment until the trials for the other two suspects are over, but said they are pleased with Stepp's guilty plea. He faces up to ten years in prison.

He will be sentenced after the trials for Jude and Cornette. The murder trial for David Jude is scheduled to start on Monday. The trial for Jimmy Cornette, Junior is expected to follow Jude's trial.

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