Former Ayden Man Avoids Death Penalty With Murder Plea

A former Ayden man will spend the rest of his life behind bars after pleading no contest to capital murder.

Jeffrey Easley was accused of killing a mother and abducting her 12-year-old daughter in December 2010 from the home they shared outside of Roanoke, Virginia.

At the time, deputies here in Pitt County were on the watch, believing Easley might return to the Ayden area. But the man and Brittany Mae Smith were found five days later in San Francisco.

Prosecutors say Tina Smith died from blunt force trauma to the head, strangulation, and suffocation. The 33-year-old Easley avoided the death penalty with today's plea.

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