ROWAN COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - The man who is accused of beating his grandmother to death in Rowan County in 2016 accepted a plea deal Monday afternoon.
Curtis Wayne Trexler, 31, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his grandmother, 75-year-old Joyce Ann Trexler. Trexler pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement and was sentenced to serve between 26 and 34 years in prison.
Originally charged with first degree murder, Trexler accepted an Alford plea with the charge reduced to second degree murder. In an Alford plea, the defendant does not admit guilt but agrees that there is enough evidence that he would likely be found guilty in court.
According to the sheriff's office, the Rowan County 911 Center received a call from the 200 block of Ellis Loop Rd around 5:07 a.m. on July 18, 2016. The caller, Curtis Trexler, told 911 operators that "a person was down and needed immediate medical assistance."
Sheriff Kevin Auten said Curtis Trexler told dispatchers he had found his grandmother in the kitchen and thought she had fallen. As help rushed to the scene, 911 operators talked the grandson through the process of administering CPR but it was too late.
When rescue crews arrived, the sheriff said it was clear it was not a case of someone falling, but rather, "an obvious, horrible assault." After several hours of investigating, the grandson was arrested.
Investigators said that Trexler beat his grandmother to death with a ceramic bowl from her own kitchen.
"This suspect has been in jail before, and his only visitor was his grandmother that he's now accused of killing," Sheriff Auten said, "To me, that breaks my heart."
Records show that Curtis Trexler had been in trouble before the killing. He had been charged with larceny and was placed on probation. Neighbors said he also had an issue with drugs and had recently come out of rehab. His grandmother, neighbors said, was helping him.
"She was just a sweet lady who didn't deserve this," one neighbor said.