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Nearly two years after a Kentucky mother of newborn twins vanished shortly after leaving a bar, her killer has pleaded guilty to her murder.
Commonwealth Attorney Andy Sims told Oxygen.com that David Sparks, 25, entered a guilty plea on charges of murder, tampering with physical evidence and abuse of a corpse in Garrard County Circuit Court Tuesday for the death of 23-year-old Savannah Spurlock.
The plea deal includes a recommended sentence of 50 years in prison, but Sparks won’t be formally sentenced until later this month, Sims said.
“We wanted him to stand in open court and admit to intentionally causing her death and that’s exactly what he did,” he said.
Spurlock, who had given birth to a set of twins just a month before she disappeared, vanished in January 2019. She was captured on surveillance footage leaving a Lexington bar with Sparks and two other men, The Lexington Herald Leader reports.
The disappearance captured national attention for months as volunteers and law enforcement scoured the area for any sign of the missing mom of four.
In July of 2019, her remains were discovered buried on Sparks’ family farm, according to the local paper. Her body was buried in a rug that appeared to have come from Sparks' home.
The day after the 23-year-old disappeared, Sparks texted his sister to ask where he could buy a new rug like the one his sister had previously purchased for him, authorities said.
Sparks initially told investigators that Spurlock had driven with the three men to Sparks’ Garrard County home—nearly an hour away from the bar, The Louisville Courier Journal reports.
He told investigators that at some point in the night, the other two men left, leaving Sparks and Spurlock alone. He said he fell asleep and at some point, Spurlock woke up to ask for his address, presumably to get a ride home. When he woke up again at noon, he told authorities she was gone.
But authorities were able find blood connected to Spurlock on a closet door inside Sparks’ bedroom and also linked the rug to his home, WKYT reports.
Authorities have not revealed how the 23-year-old died.
Sims declined to comment on a possible motive in the case.
Shaq Smith, the father of three of Spurlock’s children, told local station WHAS he didn’t feel the possible 50 year sentence was enough for the killer.
“I feel like it’s a relief for everyone who was close to Savannah that there will be no trial to sit through. But to me justice wasn’t served.”
Sims, however, told Oxygen.com it was a “satisfactory conclusion” because Sparks stood in court and admitted to killing the young mom, rather continuing to maintain his innocence from prison.
“Also with the guilty plea, there’s a very limited right to an appeal whereas if you go through trial any number of things could have happened to have caused the case to be reversed,” he said.
Under Kentucky law, the charges against Sparks could have resulted in a sentence of anywhere from 20 to 50 years to life in prison, Sims said.
The case was not eligible for the death penalty because certain “aggravators” required by the state for the death penalty to be an option were not there.
“We just didn’t have proof of any of those,” Sims said.
Under state law, Sparks will be eligible to appear before the parole board after 20 years. Sims said that would be the case for any sentence ranging from 24 years to life.
“The parole eligibility is still the same,” he said.
Sparks is set to be sentenced on Dec. 17.
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