Melissa Ferris sentenced to life in prison

A Mid-South woman charged with murder will spend the rest of her life in prison.

In court Thursday, Melissa Ferris pleaded guilty to first degree murder in the death of Corie Duckett in March of 2005.

During the hearing, Corie Duckett's mother, Tina, was allowed to address the court. Tina Duckett looked right at her daughter's killer,wondering about Corie Duckett's final moments.

"Did she cry or beg not to be hurt?" she asked. "Did she cry out for me? Was she aware of what was happening to her?"

After pleading guilty to the murder, Ferris was sentenced to life without parole. Prosecutors would have sought the death penalty at trial. The plea also spared Tina Duckett the pain of a highly publicized trial.

"I didn't want Corie's name drug through the mud," she said. "She had a lot of problems in life. She deserved to treated with dignity. I have fought tooth and nail to be sure that she has."

Tina Duckett's tear-filled statement recounted her daughter's lifelong struggle with epilepsy.

"Never again will she have another seizure, be laughed at or ridiculed," Duckett said. "Never again will she cry in my arms because she could not live a quote normal life."

Finally, she said, Corie Duckett can rest in peace.

"I want to go put flowers on her grave and tell her that I did it; that we did it."

Pending a judge's ruling in Florida, Ferris will serve her sentence in Tennessee.