Guilty Plea in Brutal Murder of Teacher's Aide

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July 14, 2011

The man accused of killing a 73-year old retired teacher’s aide entered a guilty plea Thursday morning in Nelson County Circuit Court.

Austin Griffin, a 22-year-old Afton resident, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Opal Page in May 2009. He also admitted to robbery and burglary in connection to the crime.

Griffin, who was indicted last year and charged with capital murder, will serve three consecutive life sentences. By making the plea deal he avoids a possible death sentence.

When CBS19 approached Griffin for comment, he said he's "extremely sorry and remorseful" and hopes the punishment will bring some closure to the Page family.

Griffin and Christopher Meeks, of Shipman, were arrested in 2009. Both were originally charged with first-degree murder, which was later upgraded to capital murder in May 2010.

Meeks will appear in court for a hearing on July 30.

Authorities found Page's body in her Rockfish Valley Highway home on May 6, 2009 after friends reported she had missed a lunch date.

An autopsy revealed she was stabbed 26 times.

Witnesses for the prosecution said Meeks admitted to breaking into Page's house by breaking her window with a fire extinguisher and unlocking the door, but he told investigators that Griffin stabber her.

Page's family was in the courtroom Thursday and cried when the plea was entered.

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