WACO, Texas — A little over two years after 21-year-old Sa'Kyra Young was shot and killed by her boyfriend, her family is finding closure.
Michael Howard pleaded guilty to Young's murder on Monday, just as jury selection for his trial was set to begin.
Howard now faces 55 years in prison. His plea deal reduced his original capital murder charge.
"I'm happy with it. The boy is going to be in prison for the prime of his years," said Young's mother, LaToya Wells.
Wells, wearing a bracelet with Sa'Kyra's name, said she's able to take a sigh of relief as the plea marks the end of a horrific chapter.
"I have had to be very, very strong within the last two years," she said.
Howard killed Young in August 2020. Since then, Wells has become an advocate for domestic violence victims and has helped found a scholarship program for Waco ISD students, 'Forever Young'.
"I feel like he tried to silence her by killing her, so I'm gonna keep her voice alive," Wells said. "Pretty soon, he'll just be remembered as an inmate number. She'll be remembered as an organization."
Wells expressed relief that she doesn't need to watch a trial for Howard unfold.
To learn more about the 'Forever Young' scholarship program, click here.