GRAYSON, Ky (WSAZ) - Tears filled the eyes of family members as they watched the man originally charged with manslaughter in the death of their loved one plead guilty to a lesser charge.
Monday afternoon, Clifford Cathey, 35, of Grayson, Kentucky pleaded guilty to 2nd degree assault.
Cathey was originally charged with manslaughter in the beating death of 42-year-old Heath Toney, of Grayson, back on New Year's Day 2012.
In December, a mistrial was declared because the jury was deadlocked after the jury could not reach an unanimous verdict.
Cathey’s second trial on the manslaughter charge was scheduled to begin Tuesday.
April Frazier is the sister of Toney and says they agreed to this plea because going through another trail was too much for the family to endure. “Every day is a struggle. Some people get to say well I'm taking it day by day. We don't get that privilege we have to say or take a second by second and some seconds are good in some seconds are not but we go on. He still gets to hug his kids, my brothers kids don't get that," said Frazier
Cathey will be sentenced April 21. He faces up to 8 years in prison.
Family members of Toney plan to speak prior to sentencing.
In February 2013, Cathey’s co-defendant, Bryan Rice, 39, of Grayson, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of first-degree facilitation of manslaughter.
Rice received a five-year sentence with the understanding that he cooperate in Cathey’s prosecution.
But during Cathey’s trial, Rice changed his story and testified as a prosecution witness that Cathey did not assault Toney.