An Oxford man pled guilty Feb. 19 to stabbing his former girlfriend to death at her parents’ Fayetteville home last May.
Terry Bernard Davis, 46, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole as part of a negotiated plea accepted by Fayette County Superior Court Judge Robert “Mack” Crawford.
Davis will have to serve at least 30 years in prison before he can be considered for release, according to Fayette County Assistant District Attorney Warren Sellers.
Davis pled guilty to one county of felony murder for the death of Jessica Tolbert, 29. Four other related charges were dropped as part of the plea deal.
Sellers said Davis broke in the door to the Tolberts’ home, chased Jessica Tolbert into the kitchen and stabbed her multiple times with a butcher knife before fleeing the scene.
Tolbert was stabbed in the chest, penetrating her aorta, and also was stabbed in the abdomen, neck, back, arm and thigh, Sellers confirmed.
Tolbert and Davis had previously broken up and she had begun seeing someone else, who was at the home during the attack.
Part of the rationale for offering the plea deal, Sellers said, was due to the possibility that Davis could successfully argue that he was guilty of the lesser offense of voluntary manslaughter on the premise that he didn’t come to the home intending to kill Tolbert.
“Our counter to that was that he came to the door twice, so he had a cooling-off period, but it was a very brief cooling-off period,” Sellers explained.
Prosecutors believe that Davis grabbed the murder weapon from the kitchen, Sellers said. The knife was recovered at the scene, Seller said.
Following the incident, Davis fled the area but was arrested early the next morning in Atlanta with help from the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force, according to Fayette County Sheriff Barry Babb.
Tolbert was treated by county paramedics who transported her to Piedmont Fayette Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
In addition to other physical evidence collected at the scene, deputies were also helped by eyewitnesses in the neighborhood, Babb has said previously.
Davis was represented by Emily Bass Franke of the Fayette County Public Defenders Office.