By Leeann Akers - Editor
April 2, 2014 — Just one day before a scheduled retrial, a Grayson man accused of manslaughter changed his plea to guilty.
Clifford Cathey, 35, appeared in Carter Circuit Court on Monday and pleaded guilty to the amended charge of second degree assault, a Class C Felony.
He also agreed to a sentence of eight years in exchange for his plea. A second felony charge of being a persistent felony offender was dropped as part of the deal.
Cathey was facing 10 years to life in prison if convicted of first degree manslaughter, a Class B felony, in connection with the New Year's Day beating death of Heath Toney in 2012. Cathey's trial last December ended in a deadlocked jury.
He was on parole at the time of Toney's death, which Judge Rebecca Phillips said excluded him from probation.
“This sentence will run consecutively to any revoked portion of the parole,” Phillips said. “But that will be up to the probation and parole board, not this court.”
Although the victim's family approved of the agreement, Toney's sister, April Frazier, said she felt like it was time to move forward.
“No matter what happens to him, it won't bring my brother back,” Frazier said. “Going through another trial was just too much for my family. The system is not what it should be. It's not for the victims of crimes. It's for the criminals. We found that out the hard way.”
Fraizer said that for her family, it would never be over.
“I feel like he will do this to someone else when he gets out,” Frazier said. “We just want to keep him off the street for as long as we can.”
Cathey's sentencing is scheduled for April 21 at 2 p.m.
Leeann Akers can be reached at email@example.com or by phone at 474-5101.