MORGANTON, NC (WBTV) - 63 year old Gerald Dean Buff pleaded guilty to second degree murder in Burke County Superior Court on Monday. He originally had been charged with first degree murder in the October 2017 stabbing death of his neighbor Jimmy Causby.
Buff told deputies at the time he stabbed Causby over a fight about an alleged stolen welder. In court on Monday there was no mention about whether a welder was actually involved.
The defense did not make excuses for Buff but did detail mental issues he has had since a serious car accident in 1978. The defense also admitted on the day of the stabbing Buff had been drinking, took a double dose of Xanax and was on methamphetamine as well.
Sherry Causby, wife of the victim said she understood what drugs can do. It turned out Jimmy had addiction problems since he had surgery for a rotator cuff injury. Even so, Sherry said Jimmy had done a lot of good in the local community and was also involved in helping to establish a school at an orphanage in Kenya.
“He did a lot of good things,” she said. She hoped what happened will be a message to others who may have gone down the path of drug addiction “About what can happen with that lifestyle.”
Buff could have been sentenced to life in prison but judge Lou Trosch handed Buff a 14 to 18 year sentence. With credit for time served, he could be free in 13 years.