A 33-year-old Gulfport man will serve 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to the murder of a homeless man.
James Christopher Woodard entered his plea to a charge of second degree murder in the 2017 death of another homeless man, Ronald Spencer, Jr.
Police found the victim back in July of 2017 near 28th Street and 30th Avenue near the railroad tracks, lying in a tent nearby with serious injuries to his head and face.Police say Spencer was beaten with a lead pipe.
He died from his injuries a few days later at a local hospital. Witnesses told police Woodard and the victim had an altercation earlier that day.
Woodard was set to go to trial next week, but instead entered a guilty plea. At his plea hearing this week, Woodard told the judge he had used a lot of drugs and was sorry for what happened. He asked the judge to allow him to get drug and alcohol treatment while in prison. Since Woodard is a habitual offender, he will not be eligible for early release or parole.