Deputies escort Alex Bridges Deaton from the Neshoba County Courthouse Friday after he pleaded guilty to murder.
Deputies escort Alex Bridges Deaton from the Neshoba County Courthouse Friday after he pleaded guilty to murder.
Alex Bridges Deaton can expect to spend the rest of his life in prison after receiving his second life sentence Friday in Neshoba County Circuit Court, the authorities said.

Deaton, 30, who grew up in Philadelphia, pleaded guilty to the murder of Brenda Pinter, 69, at the Dixon Baptist Church on February 23, 2017. 

Mrs. Pinter, who was going to clean the church, was Deaton’s second victim that day in a crime spree that turned into a nationwide manhunt as he fled West.

Deaton has answered for all other crimes that included the strangulation of girlfriend Heather Robinson near Castlewoods in Rankin County. He received a sentence that will run consecutively with prior sentences.

“Everyone here is a loser today,” Neshoba County Circuit Judge Christopher A. Collins said. “No one has been able to understand why you would do such a thing, commit such a crime with no explanation.”       

Deaton did not look at any of the 40 or more people in the courtroom, many whom were Mrs. Pinter’s friends and family. There were no visible signs of remorse. He only looked at the judge when he spoke.

“He said he was out of his mind on drugs,” District Attorney Steven Kilgore said. “That was his only explanation.”

Deaton’s family contacted the Democrat this week and said he had a statement he was not allowed to read in court. The family asked the newspaper to print the statement, but the Democrat said the court record will stand.

Kilgore explained that Deaton was only allowed to plea to the maximum charge.

“We had everything we needed to convict him,” Kilgore said.

The death penalty was never a possibility. Though his crimes were hideous, they did not rise to the level of a capital crime as the current law is written. The murders would have had to be committed while in the act of another crime.  

Deaton already pleaded guilty in July 2017 to the final act in his criminal drama — robbing, stealing a car from and shooting a convenience store clerk in Pratt, Kansas.        

Deaton was sentenced in October to nearly 13 years in prison in Kansas for attempted first-degree murder and aggravated robbery there.

Deaton acknowledged in Rankin County Circuit Court that he strangled girlfriend Heather Robinson to death in February 2017, stole her SUV, and then shot and wounded a jogger near Robinson's home. 

Rankin County Circuit Judge William Chapman sentenced him to life in prison on those charges.