CLARK COUNTY, Ind. (WHAS11) -- A Southern Indiana man will spend the rest of his life in prison after accepting a plea deal in a Harrison County couple's brutal murder from years ago. The Tuesday morning court date was an emotional one for the family of the victims, as well as the family of the defendant.
It was a court date years in making as Austin Scott walked into a Clark County Courtroom to find out his fate.
"We weren't going to believe it until we saw it,” the victim’s daughter Sue Schmelz said.
Tuesday's plea deal was the third of its kind. Scott previously agreed to plead guilty twice before and then changed his mind at the last minute – a gut-wrenching process that left family heartbroken and prosecutors frustrated.
"He began to see the writing on the wall- the state was not backing down, we were prepared to go forward, we had a trial date firmly set, and I believe that was what precipitated today's plea," Prosecuting Attorney for Harrison County, Otto Schalk said.
Scott is one of two men who were accused of robbing and brutally murdering 57-year-old Asenath Arnold and 70-year-old Gary Henderson in their Greenville home. Prosecutors said Scott and Kevin Schuler broke into their home and Scott stabbed Henderson more than 20 times while Schuler beat Arnold to death.
Henderson's daughters described their father and step-mother as pillars of the community and kind-hearted people who would have given Scott anything to spare their lives.
Tuesday Scott pleaded guilty and the judge accepted the plea. He is sentenced to life in prison without parole.
"To hear him say he was guilty- it has a sense of closure for our family. At least we know he's never going to do this to anybody else and he's going to be gone. He's never going to be a free man again," Schmelz said,
After Henderson's daughters made their statements, Scott apologized to the family.
"I’m glad that he said what he said but it’s a very small fracture in all this,” Schmelz said.
Knowing Scott will never walk the streets again is now a sense of closure for the family.
"For three years it’s been all about the people who killed our parents, it’s never been about the family, and we've never got to speak and say our word, so today was about saying this is what you took away from us,” Schmelz said.
Scott's co-defendant Kevin Schuler is set for trial in January in Hamilton County.