We have been watching this local story as it gets closer to trial and this morning in a Franklin County court room the defendant Kurtis Robert Chapman plead Guilty.

From the Tri City Herald

A Pasco man admitted this morning to strangling his pregnant ex-girlfriend and leaving her body underneath his father’s home in Pasco.

Kurtis Robert Chapman, 23, pleaded guilty in Franklin County Superior Court to second-degree murder with domestic violence and second-degree manslaughter.

The courtroom was packed with loved ones and friends of both Chapman and his victim as he was sentenced to a prison term of 24 years.

Chapman has been in jail since he killed Shenay Greenough, 19, of West Richland in May 2010.

Greenough was about eight months pregnant at the time. Her unborn daughter also died.

"In the beginning I hated you and couldn't believe you took my daughter, but as time's gone on, I don't know, I have such a huge heart. I actually feel sorry for you," Christina Sullivan, Greenough's mother, told Chapman in court today. "I'm so sorry you chose what you did because you also lost your life, or most of it. … I am hurting, but I also feel for you and want you to know that."

Lawyer Matt Rutt said Chapman heavily used methamphetamine, which affected his ability to form proper judgments.

Co-counsel Bob Thompson read a written statement by his client, in which Chapman apologized for his actions and said he wished he could trade places with Greenough.

"This is about accountability. I will never in a million years be able to trade places with Shenay and Kyana, who I also loved," Chapman said in his statement. "No amount of apologies will ever bring them back, even though I wish it could."

Sullivan told the Tri-City Herald that she wasn’t necessarily happy with the plea agreement worked out between Prosecutor Shawn Sant and Chapman’s defense attorneys.

But, she said, it made Chapman accept responsibility for what he did and eliminated his chance to appeal.

“I just agonized about it,” Sullivan said. “All I thought about all this time is the trial. … But it’s the only way to get him for sure and not have to worry down the road about it any more.”

Defense attorneys had appealed an earlier court ruling denying their motion to dismiss the charges against Chapman. They claimed his constitutional rights were violated when a Pasco police detective listened to a recorded jail phone conversation between Chapman and his lawyer.

Judge Craig Matheson had twice ruled the detective’s action was a good-faith error and denied the defense motions.

A request to the state Court of Appeals to review the decision was still pending at the time the plea deal with reached last week, Sant previously told the Herald.

For the full story, see Tuesday’s Herald and tricityherald.com