TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Defendant Carlos Cordero laughed as he pled guilty Friday to second-degree murder charges in the death of 81-year-old Alfred Watton.
He was facing life in prison, but suddenly the state offered him a deal he couldn’t pass up.
Prosecutors say in Sept. 2016, Watton hired Cordero to do some lawn work around his house.
But a dispute over money turned violent, according to prosecutor Chinwe Fossett.
"[The victim] told Mr. Cordero he was not going to pay him more than he already had. At that time, Mr. Cordero responded by pushing Mr. Watton with both hands," explained Fossett.
Prosecutors say Cordero did more than push the 81-year-old grandfather.
"The evidence, from the state's perspective, is that the defendant also took Mr. Watton's head and banged it on the concrete pavers that were present," said Fossett.
Cordero is also accused of taking cash from Watton's wallet and the stealing Watton's red van.
It was Alfred's wife of 55 years, Lena, who found him beaten nearly to death. He would eventually die of his injuries.
On Friday, a hearing about case evidence suddenly turned into a plea deal. Cordero accepted a 20-year prison sentence followed by probation.
Alfred Watton's daughter was the only family member in the courtroom to see the fast-changing developments.
But many family members will be in court next month for Cordero's sentencing.