Roanoke Co. Man to Plead Guilty In Murder Of VeraLee Craft

Preston King

Roanoke Co., VA - The man accused in the capital murder of 18-month-old, VeraLee Craft, is expected to plead guilty to first degree murder in order to avoid the death penalty.

Preston King, of Roanoke County, has been in jail since Vera Lee was taken to the hospital in July of 2012.

According to the family of VeraLee, King has agreed to some form of negotiation with the Commonwealth that, while sparing King's life, will also guarantee a very long prison sentence.

The says that King had originally offered to plead guilty to a second degree charge back in September - an unacceptable offer, according to the family, which was presumably rejected by the Commonwealth.

The family says they are not bent on seeing King face execution and say they told the Commonwealth they would settle for a first degree plea.

Vera Lee's father says if King follows through... the plea will allow him to finally grieve.

"I still feel a little relief that he had accepted what he had done and he admitted to it... and that made me feel a little bit better. I feel like I can actually rest now and begin to grieve over my daughter," said VeraLee's father, Jonathan Craft.

The Commonwealth's Attorney's office said they could not comment on specific negotiations but did say those negotiations took place but that no deal was offered.

The plea hearing for King is scheduled for December 12th.