STROUDSBURG, Pa. - A man will spend decades behind bars after a surprise guilty plea in the murder of a former Monroe County teacher.
Rico Herbert, of Susquehanna County, will spend 31 to 62 years in state prison after pleading guilty Monday to third degree murder in the death of Joseph DeVivo.
The 87-year-old was killed in February 2012.
Officials discovered Herbert driving DeVivo's car in North Carolina.
DeVivo's body was later found in South Carolina.
Prosecutors in Monroe County were seeking the death penalty.
Herbert entered the guilty plea on the day his trial was expected to start.
DeVivo's family is relieved.
"We are grateful this horrible ordeal is over. We support the district attorney in the decision to reach a plea bargain with the defendant. We believe justice is being served," said Joseph DeVivo, the victim's son.
Devivo said it's an opportunity for the family to move forward.
"The things behind me are what happened to my dad, his disappearance. The mystery behind what happened," DeVivo said.
Instead, DeVivo is surrounding himself with positive memories of his father.
He mounted his father's golf clubs on the wall and has pictures proudly displayed on his living room wall.
The DeVivo family is also looking to help others.
"I wanted to do something positive out of a horribly negative event," DeVivo said.
A scholarship for an aspiring educator seemed like the perfect fit.
The Stroud Township man taught fourth graders for more than 30 years in the East Stroudsburg Area School District.
"He firmly believed in the value of education and had an impact on a lot of young people," DeVivo said.
The memorial scholarship is funded through an annual golf tournament and an online raffle.
It will support a high school student in the East Stroudsburg Area School District.
For more information about the tournament and the raffle, click here.
Allentown, PA 18102
- Lehigh Valley 69 News