ARCHER COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — The third and final defendant in a vicious Archer County beating and stabbing death in 2020 has pleaded guilty and will be going to prison.

Saconn Ayala made a plea deal and, instead of his original murder charge, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for manslaughter on Tuesday, April 12.

A second suspect, Charles Ray Hunter, was found guilty of murder and given life in prison last December. He was transferred back to Archer County jail last week from Wichita County after his drug charges there were dismissed. Those charges were filed during the murder investigation.

Hunter will be held in Archer City until transfer to a prison is arranged.

The third suspect in the murder of John Helms, Lee Villalpando of Olney, died while awaiting trial.

Helms’ body was found on a secluded Archer County Road in April of 2020. He had been beaten and stabbed.

A fourth man who witnessed it said Helms was pleading for them to take him to his grandmother’s house, but they drove off and left him to die.

Prosecutors said Helms was taken there and killed because he had taken things form Hunter’s girlfriend.

Hunter testified on his own behalf and denied involvement in the stabbing and beating but the witness said he saw Hunter holding the knife.