In Galveston County, Wednesday is the day three families have waited years for. A convicted serial killer went before a judge Wednesday morning and pleaded guilty to the murders of two women from more than 25 years ago.
William Reece was already sentenced to death in Oklahoma for killing 19-year-old Tiffany Johnston, but authorities said it was always part of the plan to bring him back to Texas for the murders of 12-year-old Laura Smither and 17-year-old Jessica Cain.
The 62-year-old pleaded guilty to those two murders and got life in prison.
We have been following this story for more than two decades after Smither and Cain went missing in 1997. Reece already admitted to killing both of these victims, as well as the killing of 17-year-old Kelli Cox.
For the last several months Reece has been in a local jail as the cases are decided. Reporters were told he recently agreed to a deal in the three murders in order to avoid the death penalty.
Reece is currently facing the death penalty in Oklahoma.
Over the years we have spoken to family members of the victims, including the parents of both Smither and Cain. They said for the first time in decades they feel justice is finally being served.
“This is justice. It is. There was certainly a long period of time that we thought that was never going to happen. Now we know he’s not going to get out,” said one victim’s family member.
Reece is scheduled to make a similar appearance in Brazoria County for the murder of Cox.