NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) — A man accused of murdering his girlfriend and putting her body in a cardboard box has changed his plea to guilty, and has agreed to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Jeb Daly of Huntington changed his plea to guilty of second degree murder and misleading police, during a hearing Monday morning at Hampshire Superior Court in Northampton.
The defense agreed to a sentence that would keep Daly in prison for the rest of his natural life, which the judge accepted. The defense explained that they did not want to drag the family through this any longer.
Daly was charged with murder for the death of his 30-year-old girlfriend, Jessica Dana, a mother of three.
When police went to question Daly about Dana’s disappearance in June 2012, police found her body in the backyard of the couple’s Huntington home in a cardboard box. Prosecutors say that Daly tried to run away, but he was later caught.
Daly was accused of beating and strangling Dana following an argument over money and drugs.
After the guilty plea, 22News spoke with Dana’s mother, Cheryl Stoothoff. She said, “I just felt like it’s a step towards closureto where we can start to settle down and maybe live our lives a little easier.”
John Stoothoff, Dana’s father, said, “Just glad this thing is finally resolved so we can try and get back on with our lives.”
Dana’s family wore purple to court Monday in honor of Dana. Stoothoff said, “Purple is Jessica’s favorite color so we all wore purple in honor of her.”
This case has been delayed several times, as prosecutors and the defense attorney waited for DNA evidence to be processed.