GARRARD COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — David Sparks was sentenced to 50 years in prison Thursday for his role in the disappearance and murder of Savannah Spurlock. Earlier this month he pleaded guilty to murder, evidence tampering and abuse of a corpse.
It wasn't a normal courtroom proceeding. Due to COVID-19, the judge sentenced Sparks virtually through Zoom with Spurlock's family watching it on a laptop from the commonwealth's attorney's office.
Sparks, 25, agreed to the sentence in a hearing earlier this month in Garrard County Circuit Court with Judge Hunter Daugherty.
Sparks also pleaded guilty to charges of evidence tampering and abuse of a corpse as part of the deal. Those charges combine to carry a sentence of six years, which will run concurrent to the 50 years Sparks will serve for murder.
Commonwealth's Attorney Andy Sims tells LEX 18 Sparks won't be eligible for parole for at least twenty years, or 40% of the term. Sims said the death penalty wasn't on the table even if the case went to a jury, and he isn't sure if Sparks or his attorneys would've accepted a life sentence in a plea negotiation.
Lisa Thoma, Spurlock's aunt said Sparks didn't appear to show any remorse. He said nothing to the family during the sentencing.
"I think he got off real cushy and easy being behind a computer screen behind a mask, not having to face the people he devastated in person," said Thoma.
The family met privately with police and prosecutors after the fact. Thoma said they answered the family's questions as much as they could.
"What happened in that house that night is between him, Savannah and God because there's so much that isn't known," Thoma told LEX18.
Sparks left a Lexington bar with the mother of four in January of 2019. They ended up at Sparks' Garrard County home where police believe she never left alive.
In January 2019, Sparks admitted to taking then-23-year-old-Spurlock, a mother of four, to a location in Garrard County following a night out in Lexington.
He said he acted alone in killing Spurlock before tying her legs together, wrapping her in plastic bags, and burying her body in the backyard of his parents' home on Fall Lick in Garrard County.
Following an exhaustive search, which lasted for more than six months, authorities were tipped off to Spurlock's possible location when a foul odor was detected outside the Sparks' home.