In a South Carolina courtroom Friday, Todd Kohlhepp stood before a judge and pleaded guilty to murdering seven people. The plea was part of a deal he worked out with prosecutors, whereby Kohlhepp would avoid the death penalty and receive seven consecutive life sentences for killings committed across a span of approximately 13 years.
He was also sentenced to 60 years in prison for an assortment of other crimes, including kidnapping and sexual assault.
The real estate agent confessed to the seven murders last year, after investigators discovered a woman chained in a storage container on his nearly 100-acre rural property in Woodruff, S.C. She had been reported missing months earlier, and says she was held captive and raped by Kohlhepp. Her boyfriend, Charles David Carter, had already been shot dead and buried by the time she was rescued.
Another couple, also killed by Kohlhepp, was discovered buried on his property — and he confessed to still more killings. As NPR's Bill Chappell reported last year, Kohlhepp said he was also responsible for "shooting and killing four people in Chesnee, S.C. — a case that's been known locally as the Superbike murders."
Several relatives of Kohlhepp's victims sat in the courtroom for his guilty plea Friday.
"Today is not so much his day in court as it is Meagan's day of justice and retribution," a relative of Meagan McCraw-Coxie, who was killed at the age of 26, told the room, according to NBC News. "One day, he will face final judgment, and then may God have mercy on his soul."