The Allen County man charged in the heinous death of a seven-year-old girl will avoid going on trial.
In a rare Saturday court hearing, Timothy Madden accepted a plea deal offered by Commonwealth's Attorney Corey Morgan.
"We had discussions with the family and everybody agreed it would be best to have closure and to save them from years of appeals and having to relive this," Morgan explained.
The 42-year-old Madden pleaded guilty to kidnapping and murder while entering Alford pleas to charges of rape and sodomy. In an Alford plea, the defendant doesn't admit guilt, but admits there's enough evidence to likely result in a conviction.
"Timmy entered a guilty plea today because it was the right thing to do," said Madden's public defender Tom Griffiths. "The thought of what that trial would be like and the things that would need to be said with his family there, the things they would have to hear was not something he wanted them to be part of. He didn't want to put them through that."
Madden was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for the killing of Gabbi Doolin in November 2015. The little girl disappeared while at her brother's youth football game at Allen County-Scottsville High School. Her body was discovered in a creek behind the school. DNA testing linked Madden to the crime.
Following the guilty plea, Gabbi's cousin, Lori Wilson, said the family didn't feel any closure.
"It doesn't feel like we thought it would. It will never be behind any of us."
Madden could have received the death penalty if convicted at trial. He was scheduled to face a jury starting Sept 4 in Hardin County. The proceedings were expected to last four to six weeks.
"Gabriella's family has shown great mercy to the defendant and his family," stated Allen Circuit Judge Janet Crocker.
Judge Crocker set aside two days for final sentencing on Oct. 23-24. Prosecutor Corey Morgan said he will present evidence and testimony, as well as victim impact statements. Madden will also have an opportunity to make a statement in court.