The last-ditch attempt by an admitted York County killer, who beat his girlfriend to death then burned her body in a barrel, who changed his mind about his guilty plea has been thrown out by the S.C. Court of Appeals.
John Coddington, 23, who told police “a demon came out in me” and “the devil made me do it” after he beat Tiffany Williams to death in late 2015 at his Fort Mill condo, pleaded guilty to murder Aug. 31.
He was sentenced to 45 years in prison in a negotiated deal that saved him a potential trip to the electric chair. Coddington carried Williams’ body to Chester County where he burned her remains in a plot to try and cover up the crime.
Coddington claimed that Williams, whom he met through a prostitution Web site, cuckolded him in his home, and then while drunk and on drugs, he beat and kicked her to death.
But prosecutors described a brutal slaying and cover up. They said that Coddington watched Williams die, then moved her body in a bloody suitcase and spent days burning her corpse.
Prosecutors secured a confession from Coddington and had evidence against him, including DNA and more.
“The dismissal is exactly what we expected, because Mr. Coddington pleaded guilty,” said Willy Thompson, 16th Circuit deputy solicitor. “He got what he deserved.”
Appeals on guilty pleas are extremely rare and almost always thrown out, as defendants have to sign forms giving up rights. Coddington was questioned extensively by the judge in August about pleading guilty and giving up those rights.
The plea deal was for 30 to 45 years; 30 years is the minimum for murder. But the judge in the case, after hearing the grisly facts, sentenced Coddington to the maximum under the plea bargain.
Days after the plea, Coddington filed an appeal, asking to back out of the deal.