A 25-year-old Arkansas man was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to murdering an Elkmont man inside his girlfriend’s home in November 2003.

James Mason Duncan, who was scheduled to go on trial for capital murder, entered the guilty plea before Limestone County Circuit Judge Jimmy Woodroof. The judge then sentenced Duncan to life in prison.

Duncan was one of three men arrested in the shooting death of 21-year-old Michael Bryant.

Duncan and Joshua Loyd Southwick, 25, of Ardmore were accused of entering a mobile home just north of Sandlin Road and killing Bryant, execution style. At the time, Bryant’s girlfriend and members of her family were inside the home.

Southwick pleaded guilty to murder Feb. 8 and was sentenced to life in prison for murder plus 20 years for burglary in what county investigators called a murder-for-hire case.

Ardmore resident Mark Anthony Angus, a co-worker of Bryant’s and the man authorities arrested and accused of hiring Southwick and Duncan to kill Bryant, was acquitted during his trial in August of last year.

Limestone County District Attorney Kristi Valls said the sentencing of Duncan Tuesday clears another murder case from the Limestone County docket.

“That leaves us with nine more homicides that must be set for trial,” Valls said. “Seven of those cases are capital murder cases.”

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