YORK COUNTY, S.C. — John Coddington showed no emotion as he apologized to the family of the woman he beat to death, then dismembered and burned her body. He also didn't show any emotion when he was sentenced to the maximum of 45 years in prison without parole for the crime.
Last October, Coddington, 23, met a prostitute on backpage.com.
He paid for sex with Tiffany Williams, 32, and eventually became her boyfriend.
They moved in together at his Fort Mill townhouse and five weeks later, he killed her when she started using his home and his bed to have sex with other men.
He found out about it one night when he came home, found her passed out on drugs, and picked up her cellphone.
He snapped and began beating her.
Blood was found in nearly every room of the townhouse on Azurine Circle, as Williams struggled to escape his blows.
"He could have stopped at any time and called for help," said solicitor Kevin Brackett. "But he didn't. The beating lasted for a long period of time."
As Williams lay dying on the floor, Coddington stood there and smoked a cigarette. He was already high on cocaine.
"For the last 20 minutes of her life, he just watched her die," Brackett said.
Coddington then put her body in the bathtub and tried to scrub his apartment clean.
Three days later he stuffed her body into the suitcase she brought with her to move in, carried her to Chester County and burned her body in a barrel in the woods. He had also burned up her clothes and her personal belongings, a day earlier.
At her death she weighed 150 pounds. Investigators in Chester County only found 20 pounds of her bones, said deputy solicitor Willy Thompson.
"Scientists digging up dinosaurs usually find larger, more complete bone structures of creatures gone millions of years, than we found just days after Miss Williams was killed," he said.
Megan Williams is Tiffany's sister. She spoke through tears Wednesday hoping for the strictest sentence.
"She was all I had. She was my sister. We were so close and we did everything together," Williams said.
Public defender Harry Dest said Williams got Coddington into hard drugs like cocaine, meth and heroin. He said Coddington had never done drugs before and didn't have a criminal record.
"He was a quiet, shy, hard-working young man," Dest said. "No one who knows him, no one, believes he could be capable of committing a crime like this."
He asked for a shorter 30-year sentence.
"I'm asking for mercy," he said. "The prosecution has portrayed him as a monster, but everybody who knows him, knows him very differently."
Coddington had confessed to the crime on Dec. 10 after police came to his home telling him that Williams had been missing.
He gave them permission to search and they found the pools of blood around the house.
Heather Latham, whose known Tiffany Williams since she was 15, admitted that Williams had a troubled life.
"She was on backpage, but whatever she was doing, she never deserved this," Latham said.
Friends were also angry that only days after the murder, Coddington got a tattoo of a teardrop below his eye, a known symbol of a killer.
"I mean, who does that?" Latham said.
"That teardrop is like he was bragging about what he did," Williams' sister said.
Prosecutors told the court that Coddington also got a tattoo of a demon on his hand, telling police he'd done it because "a demon came out of me," he had said.
Coddington could have spent life in prison if he'd been convicted at trail.
The solicitor offered 45 years as a cap as part of the pea deal.
He will not be eligible for parole.
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