INDEPENDENCE, Missouri - A former Independence pastor charged in the murder of his alleged mistress' husband has changed his plea to guilty.
David K. Love was arrested and charged last November with the murder of Randy Stone, who was found shot to death inside his Farmer's Insurance office on March 31, 2010.
A county spokesman said Love, 51, appeared about 8 a.m. Wednesday in the courtroom of Jackson County Circuit Judge Robert M. Schieber and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and armed criminal action. He said he shot Stone, but he made no further statement.
Love was sentenced to life in prison. He also pleaded guilty to an armed criminal action charge. That sentence will run concurrently to the life sentence.
Randy Stone's mother, Clara Koehler, was at the courthouse Wednesday morning with other family members of Stone. She later spoke to NBC Action News.
Koehler said the family was shocked by Love's plea and she's still in disbelief that Love killed her son. She explained, "We all thought we knew the preacher so well. But I guess you can kind of say, we got slapped in the face." Koehler continued on to say she was happy Love was "man enough to admit it."
She said they heard a rumor Tuesday that Love might plead Wednesday, but wouldn't believe it until it happened. She said, "It's hard to swallow. We thought we knew him so well."
Koehler explained to NBC Action News, Love was good friends with her family for 11 years before the murder. The former pastor was continually at her son's Independence home, she said.
Randy Stone's widow, Teresa Stone, was indicted earlier this year with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Randy Stone's family members said Teresa Stone and Love were having an affair.
Before he was implicated in Randy Stone's death, Love presided over his funeral. No one thought anything was suspicious until Love's church, New Hope Baptist Church, was raided.
Love resigned and moved to South Carolina to work at a trucking company.
The church has been a source of support for Koehler and the rest of the Stone family. Senior Pastor Dr. Darren Tharp said, "The church itself had nothing to do with what happened (the murder of Randy Stone) but these are precious people, wonderful church family and they are moving on."
Following Love's guilty plea Wednesday, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said that her office was now focused on "seeing justice served" in a second case, conspiracy to commit murder against Teresa Stone.
Koehler told NBC Action News justice was only partially served on Wednesday. She plans to attend Theresa Stone's trial in April in support of her two grandchildren, Michael and Miranda. Not only have they lost a father, they are not waiting to hear a court ruling on their mother.
Though, everyone involved was relieved to know the family would not have to live through re-living the horrific details of Stone's death during a trial. Jackson County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Kevin Harrell said, "The family did not have to go through the trials and the riggers of that but they were able to hear Mr. Love take accountability."
She said in a press conference Wednesday, "Justice has not been served on that case and we intend to see justice served across the board."