Accused killer of Auburn mom pleads guilty to murder

Katie Socci

David McNamara, a drug convict who just last month rejected a plea deal in the killing of his ex-girlfriend Katie Socci, has now pleaded guilty to murder.

Socci, a young nurse and mother, was found dead off a wooded trail not far from her home in the summer of 2011. Listen to audio here.

Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann says prosecutors were surprised when McNamara pleaded guilty to strangling Socci in her home with their young daughter in the house. According to Budelmann, McNamara now faces 20 years in prison. He is set to be resentenced on April 23.

The father of Katie Socci is relieved tonight that McNamara has pled guilty and will be sentenced to 20 years to life.

"We were hoping to not go to trial. The professionals around us did a fantastic job," John Socci said. "A lot of people did a professional job. They prepared a solid case. That is the reason they were willing to plead guilty. They saw the evidence. Most likely believed they stood little chance in court."

"I'm relieved my family won't have to go through a trial. We did not want to relive details that would be difficult to hear," said Socci. "I don't know if there is such a thing as closure. Some of the questions are over. This more or less puts a stop to the legal fight and that's a relief."

After her death, friends and family started an annual fundraiser in Socci's honor.

John Socci says his granddaughter Sydney Renee has been the light in the life of the family since his daughter was murdered. Katie Socci's daughter turned three years old last fall. John says during the worst times the little girl has brought happiness to their lives.