Auburn (WSYR-TV) -- Months after Katie Socci’s body was found abandoned in a field, her parents finally heard the words they’d been waiting for: David McNamara admitted to killing their daughter. Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann says McNamara showed little emotion as he unexpectedly made the admission in court on Thursday.
“His affect was very flat. It was like somebody in a store ordering a sandwich,” said Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann. "He certainly doesn't have any remorse or sympathy or empathy. I don't think he has any regret other than getting caught."
Budelmann calls McNamara a sociopath who police believe hid in Socci’s apartment as she returned from work as a nurse. McNamara told a judge he intended to kill his ex-girlfriend when her strangled her as their toddler slept upstairs. The case touched a nerve with Budelmann who spent months pouring over every harsh detail of Socci’s final moments.
"Strangulation is very personal. I mean you are less than an arm's length away from somebody,” Budelmann said. "You are looking into someone's eyes, literally, as you are choking the life out of them."
The guilty plea came as a surprise after McNamara asked to call his mother from the courthouse. The thought of avoiding a lengthy public trial is welcome news for Socci’s family, friends and neighbors in Auburn, who have followed the case closely.
"Life imprisonment is not enough for Tina and John [Socci] and Sydney. He took a life. He deserves to be where he is,” said Susan Rusinko, a former classmate of Socci’s parents.
Katie's parents, Tina and John Socci, are raising their daughter. Budelmann said they were in court all day, preparing for a long and emotional trial. The guilty plea prompted questions that may never be answered.
"The family had asked why...just tell us why and he didn't have an answer,” Budelmann said.
Budelmann believes he found justice in law, but he understand there is never real closure for the families of victims in a murder case.
"We can imprison him for life so that he can't do this to anybody else. But, ultimately I can't bring Katie back. I can't undo what was done here. No one can. That's the real tragedy. This was so senseless. There was no reason for it. It didn't have to be,” Budelmann continued.
Police believe McNamara had been injecting steroids and he’s already in jail on unrelated drug charges. He’ll be sentenced to 20-years to Life in prison for second degree murder on April 23.
Weeks later, Socci's friends and family will gather for a fundraiser in her memory, a stiletto stampede on May 11. Registration is open at www.soccistilettostampede.com