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A Washington man pleaded guilty Monday to killing his ex-girlfriend after finding out that she was pregnant.
As part of a plea agreement, Colin Patrick Dudley was sentenced to just over 26 years behind bars for the death of his ex-girlfriend, Kassandra Cantrell, after her body was found in September 2020 wrapped in trash bags and discarded along a hillside in University Place, according to The News Tribune.
Authorities believe Dudley—who had been in a long-term relationship with another woman at the time—killed Cantrell after learning she was pregnant, People reports.
Prosecutors said in court Monday that the plea agreement was reached after “months of negotiation.”
However, Cantrell’s family voiced their opposition to the deal, saying that wanted the case to go to trial.
Her mother Marie Smith told KIRO she felt that allowing Dudley to negotiate the plea deal was like him “choosing his punishment.”
She added that she believed her daughter would have wanted the case to be tried in court.
“People say that when it gets to this point, you feel closure,” she said. “I don’t. Closure would have been her coming home. That’s never going to happen.”
Oxygen.com reached out to the Pierce County District Attorney’s Office but did not receive any immediate response.
Cantrell disappeared on Aug. 27, 2020 after leaving her home, according to an earlier statement from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.
Her friends and family became concerned after she failed to show up at a doctor’s appointment for her first ultrasound and reported her missing.
A day after the missing persons report was filed, investigators discovered her white Mazda 3 sedan abandoned near the Tacoma Dome. Surveillance video recovered by detectives showed a person of interest—later identified as Dudley—walking from the vehicle to a nearby parking garage, where a truck registered to him was seen leaving a short time later.
Investigators used GPS data obtained from the truck to find Cantrell’s remains along a “steep hillside” on Chambers Creek Road in University Place, authorities said. The sheriff’s office and Tacoma Police Department were able to recover the remains by performing a “high-angle ropes operation.”
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department’s investigation led detectives to Chambers Creek Road on Sept. 22, 2020. The victim’s body was found in trash bags about 100 yards down a hillside. Detectives noted what appeared to be stab wounds on the victim’s body, and an autopsy noted fractures to her skull, according to the declaration for determination of probable cause.
Cantrell’s friends and family said she had been excited about her pregnancy but was worried about telling Dudley because he did not want children.
She also remembered a time that he had allegedly told her that “if any girlfriend of his got pregnant and wouldn’t get an abortion he would sue to get full custody just to spite the mother for having the child,” according to a search warrant obtained by People.
"She told him that he didn't have to be involved," Cantrell’s friend Alexandra McNary previously told the news outlet. "She just thought that he had a right to know. She told him that he could give up parental rights and she wouldn't ask him for child support."
Smith said at the time of her daughter’s death she had been eagerly planning to provide a “magical life” for her baby.
“She would have been such a good mom,” she said.
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