Man pleads guilty in stabbing death of 10-year-old boy

by: Torie Wells Updated:

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CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. - A man admitted before a judge Thursday to stabbing and killing his girlfriend's 10-year-old son.

The boy was killed inside his Kannapolis home in April.

It was extremely emotional inside the courtroom as the prosecutor showed pictures of a horrific and bloody scene and described injuries to 10-year-old Mark Stewart.

The young boy's mother thinks he was just trying to protect her.

Police said Kristi Stewart was also seriously injured that night. She told the judge that Mark was the kind of son that's every mothers dream.

She said he had great grades and manners and that it's hard to live every day knowing she couldn't save him.

In court, the prosecutor told the judge it all started as a confrontation between Eugene Mays and Kristi Stewart.

They think Mark came to his mother's aide.

She said the medical examiner found 63 injuries, from stab wounds to blunt trauma, along with defensive wounds that show Mark tried to fight.

One of the detectives told the judge they found multiple knives at the scene that they think were used in the attack.

The District Attorney's Office and police say this is one of the worst cases they've ever seen.

"It's extremely brutal and heinous -- we can only imagine the horror that little boy went through that evening. Frankly, I think he's a hero, but unfortunately, he lost his life protecting his mother's," said Roxann Vaneekhoben, with Cabarrus County District Attorney's Office.

"Most of our detectives have children, and it effected a lot of them; it bothered some of the detectives for days, and some of the detectives wouldn't even go in that crime scene," said Jeff Harrison, with the Kannapolis Police Department.

Mays pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison.

In exchange, he won't receive the death penalty and won't face charges for any of the injuries he is accused of causing against Kristi Stewart.