KINGMAN – Joshua Matthew McCoy was sentenced to 13 years in prison Thursday for the second-degree murder of a man who had been staying with him and refused to leave.
McCoy, 29, pleaded guilty in February to killing Gregory Thomas Godsil after the victim broke into McCoy’s home and got into a fight with him.
McCoy bludgeoned the victim with a hatchet, striking him three to four times in the head. He then wrapped the body in plastic and was attempting to bury Godsil in his backyard when his girlfriend called police.
Superior Court Judge Billy Sipe considered a number of mitigating circumstances in the case, or evidence that would lessen McCoy’s sentence.
Among those were the fact that McCoy had no prior criminal record, was under the age of 30 and was described by family and friends as a nonviolent person.
“Until this happened, Joshua was always a kind-hearted kid,” his grandmother, Rosemarie McCoy, testified at the sentencing. “He didn’t get into trouble with the law. He had extenuating circumstances in his home. I ask you to be lenient. He’s only 29. I understand he took a life and has to do his time for that. I would ask you to go through the other things they found as to how this happened.”
Godsil had been evicted from Cornerstone Mission and was allowed to live in McCoy’s garage for a week in exchange for mechanical work.
McCoy changed the locks on his garage, but Godsil returned to kick the door in.
Defense attorney Robin Puchek repeatedly called McCoy’s actions an “imperfect claim of defense.”
Godsil had a reputation of being easily angered and of a “combative nature.”
In his statements to police, McCoy talked about confronting a trespasser in his home with a reputation for anger. Police interviewed Godsil’s daughter, who said her father had a “bad temper,” was an alcoholic and felt anyone not on his side was a “kook.”
McCoy spoke to the judge about “the best deal” he could get by pleading to second-degree murder.
He was originally charged with first-degree murder.
He could have pleaded guilty to self-defense manslaughter, but the fact that he struck the victim with the hatchet for a fourth time while he was lying on the ground and then tried to bury his body were two pieces of “damaging evidence,” Judge Sipe said.
McCoy is credited with 588 days served in custody since the murder on July 28, 2015, at a home on Prescott Street.