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Aaron E. Pilgrim (mug shot JCSO)

A man from Joplin has been sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to beating a man to death in 2009.

Aaron Eugene Pilgrim, 37, of rural Joplin was originally charged with second-degree murder for 50 year-old Ralph "Bub" Ernest Ivy Jr.'s death but pleaded guilty in February to involuntary manslaughter.

Jasper County Sheriff's Captain Derek Walrod says Pilgrim, Ivy and Pilgrim's former girlfriend Crystal Lynch were drinking at the woman's home on Red Fox Road when a fight broke out inside the house.  Acording to Walrod, Pilgrim confronted Ivy about some alleged sexual advances the older man made to Lynch's 11 year-old sister.



Ralph E. Ivy Jr. (mug shot JCSO)


After the fight spilled out onto the front yard Ivy went back inside the house and retrieved a baseball bat while Pilgrim armed himself with "a wooden club," according to Walrod.  Investigators also recovered a silver knife and a pair bloody scissors from the crime scene.

At the plea hearing in February, Pilgrim told Judge David Dally that he took the deal because he was afraid he would be found guilty of murder (which carries up to 30 years in prison) at trial and admitted that he hit Ivy with a bat but that he didn't think it would kill him.

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