Donnie Jones Jr. pleaded guilty to first degree murder Monday.
Megan Sharpton's burned body was found last July.
A garden has been created in Sharpton's memory.
Megan's mother, Kelly.
WINCHESTER, Tenn. -
A man behind bars in connection to the murder of a 24-year-old nursing student has pleaded guilty to the crime.
Donnie Jones Jr. pled guilty to first degree murder Monday and was given a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Authorities arrested Jones, 37, last fall on unlawful weapon possession charges.
He was indicted in November on charges of first degree murder, felony first degree murder and two counts each of especially aggravated kidnapping and aggravated rape in connection to the death of Megan Sharpton.
Sharpton's badly burned body was found along a roadway in rural Franklin County last July.
Investigators told Nashville's News 2 Jones lured Megan to a secluded location under the pretense he had an elderly relative with Alzheimers who needed care.
The Franklin County Sheriff's Office said Jones used a pre-paid phone that he could throw away after the crime.
Jones was familiar with Megan, because his wife and Megan would sometimes carpool to nursing school in Tullahoma together.
"It was planned and premeditated, "said Sharpton's mother, Kelly, "He just was hunting for somebody."
Tuesday, a day following the plea, Sharpton's mother told Nashville's News 2 there will never be closure but at least acceptance in her daughter's case.
"A piece of me was torn away and it's not something that can heal over like a scab," said Kelly said, "It's always going to be raw. When I think too long and hard about it I still crumble to the floor."
Kelly Sharpton said she is happy Jones is behind bars and can never do what he did to her daughter to someone else.
"He is where he needs to be. And I'm okay with that," said Kelly.
She says she will now concentrate on keeping her daughter's memory and story alive.
"She was given to me for a reason," said she said. "Her life had value and it's my job to speak for her and make sure it continues to be."
Jones, whose arrest history reflects 21 felony convictions for a variety of offenses including jail escape, burglary, forgery and attempted rape, is being processed at the Morgan County State Correctional Facility before moving to his permanent location.