JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — An Onslow County man who was indicted for the murder of his sister-in-law in 2020 pled guilty and was sentenced on Thursday.

Investigators said Derrick Bennett killed Christy Godette on June 4, 2019. Bennett was indicted on July 14, 2020. In Onslow County Superior Court, Bennett pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder charges against him.

According to Chief Assistant District Attorney Mike Maultsby, on June 4, 2019, Bennett and Godette were at the Patriot Place Mobile Home Park in Hubert. That’s when he stabbed her to death with her three children in the home at the time. During the investigation, Bennett claimed a gang was after him and admitted to stabbing her.

Bennett’s lawyer stated the defendant does have mental health issues and a doctor who evaluated him believes it was a manic episode.

Bennett was sentenced to 20-25 years in prison.

“I’ve been doing this for a very long time. And I can tell you never get used to it,” District Attorney Ernie Lee said. “Because behind every single murder case, beside everyone, and I’ve done 148 of them myself personally. That means there’s 148 victims out there, 148 victims’ families, and 148 groups of people that have been affected.”

Godette’s mother spoke in court on Thursday, stating she wanted Bennett to know that she forgave him. She added that even though her daughter is gone, she’s raising her three grandchildren left behind and sees a glimpse of Christy in each one of them.

Lee added there are currently 18 pending murder cases in Onslow County that his office is working to close.