COLLETON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - On Tabatha Compton's wedding anniversary, the widow watched as two men pleaded guilty to the murder of her husband. Jacoby Fields and Travis Harris stood before Compton and accepted a plea deal to spend the rest of their lives behind bars without parole instead of possibly facing the death penalty.
"It's been three years and we've struggled," said Tabatha. "He would have wanted us to have some kind of closure and move on and we finally got it."
Harris and Fields pleaded guilty to murdering Sheriff Deputy Compton and also four counts of burglary in the first degree and one count of burglary in the second degree.
"We do not know which one is the trigger man, therefore we would like them to be treated similarly," the solicitor said in court Wednesday. "Both should die in prison."
The two men are both accused of murdering deputy Dennis Compton in 2008.
"I can truthfully say on the day this took place, that was and still is the worst day of my 10 years as sheriff," said Colleton County Sheriff George A. Malone. "For these young men, I will continue to pray for you, as I will still pray for myself."
Compton was gunned down in the line of duty responding to a home burglary alarm in Smoaks in August of 2008.
"For Compton's family, I apologize for not taking care of your son as I should have," Malone said. "Dennis was an outstanding officer and young man."
According to investigators, Compton was shot in the stomach with a shotgun.
"I hope they will live every day of their life reliving what they did to my son," Compton's mother said Wednesday.
According to the solicitor, Compton arrived on scene and one of the two men shot him with a shotgun stolen from a previous burglary. Compton was killed. The two men then fled the house.
"They took someone very dear to me, and we can't bring him back," Compton's sister said. "They have hurt three families, not only mine, but their own my prayers go out to their mothers. I pray for you two men. My church prays for you two men."
Authorities connected four burglaries to the defendants. Deputies searched Fields' girlfriend's car and found several stolen items from previous burglaries.
After taking Fields in for questioning, investigators say he gave up Harris for the murder. Harris pointed the finger at Fields. The gun was found at Harris' home.
"They have to live with what they did now and now we can start to rebuild our lives. Hopefully some part of it. He'll always be with every bit of us," Tabatha said.