Debbie Hyde (right) speaks during Keith Rucker's plea hearing. (Jan. 16, 2013/FOX Carolina)
A family photo of Kacy Roberson. (Courtesy Debbie Hyde)
Debbie Hyde reads to her granddaughter, Kacy Roberson's child. (Jan. 15, 2013/FOX Carolina)
ANDERSON, SC (FOX Carolina) -
An Upstate man was sentenced to nearly 50 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to killing his pregnant girlfriend and their unborn child in 2011.
Police said Kacy Roberson was strangled inside her Anderson apartment two years ago and Keith Rucker was charged with the crime. Rucker appeared in court on Wednesday as part of a plea deal. Roberson, who was 16 weeks pregnant, was found by her stepfather dead in her apartment on Jan. 18, 2011 covered in blood, investigators said.
Prior to the hearing, Roberson's family spoke with FOX Carolina because they were not happy about Rucker's proposed sentence.
Friday marks the two-year anniversary of Roberson and her unborn daughter's deaths. Debbie Hyde is now raising her two grandchildren left behind by her daughter.
"She was bouncy and tough. Out of the five kids I have [Kacy] was the toughest, and no matter how bad you felt she could make you smile," Hyde said. "I have focused more on the kids and left the court and bad stuff till it came time for it."
The time has come and Hyde said at a meeting with the 10th Circuit Solicitor's Office on Monday, she was told Rucker was offered a plea bargain for one count of murder and one count of killing a child in utero.
"I was told yesterday he was offered 25 for one, 15 for the other - a total of 40 years," Hyde said.
Hyde said she's upset with the deal, saying Rucker deserves much more for what he's accused of doing.
"My daughter's gone and won't ever come back. You can't explain to her kids what happened and they still, after two years talk about her, and ask where she is," Hyde said.
Hyde said she planned to let the judge know that she is not on board with the offered deal and would ask for a stiffer sentence during Wednesday's scheduled hearing. She said one of the reasons she was fighting so hard is for the little girl she takes care of, who doesn't know the pain her mother went through in death or the love she had for her in life.
"I'm trying my best to hold it back so I don't become a hateful and bitter person - so I don't raise these kids that way," Hyde said. "They don't deserve that. But somewhere you've got to stand up sometime."
The judge sentenced Rucker to 30 years for voluntary manslaughter and 17 years for death of a child in utero, to be served consecutively. The judge deviated from the recommended plea deal sentencing of 25 and 15 after Hyde's powerful statement in court on Wednesday, according to FOX Carolina crews at the hearing.
"Today's sentence will send Mr. Rucker to prison for the next 47 years while saving the victim's family the stress and hardship of a trial," said Solicitor Chrissy Adams. "I hope each day he is behind bars will serve as a continual reminder to him of his actions and of the two innocent lives that he took."
Copyright 2013 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Sunday, August 31 2014 3:31 PM EDT2014-08-31 19:31:29 GMT
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