Pritchett Pleads Guilty In McGowan Shooting - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Pritchett Pleads Guilty In McGowan Shooting

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Michael Pritchett Michael Pritchett

There was a major development in the case of a man about to go on trial for the 2007 murder of Jayne McGowan. Michael Pritchett pleaded guilty Thursday to a long list of charges related to the killing. 

It was bittersweet news for friends of Jayne McGowan. Instead of celebrating what would have been her 29th birthday they're reacting to news that one of the men involved in her murder pleaded guilty.

On what would have been Jayne McGowan's 29th birthday her friend and former boss Kathy Baker wipes away tears for the woman she misses everyday. Baker says, "Jayne was one of those people filled with the kind of promise you rarely see." 

It was a promise cut brutally short in November 2007. Two men shot McGowan four times in the head in her St. Clair avenue home. Authorities say they were trying to steal her laptop. 

Baker says, "She was someone who was delightful to be around, just brought energy and liveliness to everything she did." 

Thursday 20-year-old Michael Pritchett pleaded guilty to McGowan's murder, the robbery and a number of other charges. Pritchett's cousin William Gentry pleaded guilty to his role in the murder in 2008. 

Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Claude Worrell says, "It came as a surprise to us, we were preparing for trial.  We had spent a lot of time talking to witnesses and preparing witnesses and getting ready to have a trial that was scheduled to last two weeks." 

Baker's birthday wish for McGowan is that her family can find peace. That the families of the two men who killed her can move forward, and that the friends and co-workers who go on without her can fill her shoes. 

Kathy baker says, "I don't think it's possible to even estimate the kinds of things that we've lost for the world for this community." 

Pritchett is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole. He's scheduled for sentencing May 26th.

Reported by Keith McGilvery
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