By REGINA BUTLER
Pontotoc Progress Staff Writer
Bobby Waldron, the quiet-talking, gentleman roofer-handyman, has entered a guilty plea to killing a 15-year old Pontotoc girl earlier this year.
Waldron, 41, will spend the rest of his life in prison. There is no hope for parole under the life sentence without parole, plus 30 years.
Bobby has escaped the death penalty by pleading to life without the possibility of parole for the brutal murder and felonious abuse of Tina Dover, also of Pontotoc.
He was also sentenced to an additional 30 years on the felonious charge of kidnapping.
The sentences will run consecutively, which means he has life without parole plus 30 years.
A hard working man who would stay as long as it took to get the job done, many were surprised when they learned of the charged leveled against him.
Said to be a quiet man by those who had contact with him, one person said “You couldn’t have asked for a better fella.”
Tina’s body was discovered in a motel room in Batesville on Wednesday, June 4.
Waldron was arrested and charged with capital murder the next day.
A Panola County grand jury indicted him with capital murder and the felonious abuse and battery of a child in August.
The guilty plea brings to a swift close the most brutal child murder case connected to Pontotoc this year.
John Champion, assistant district attorney in Panola County said he had not offered Waldron a plea in the matter.
“I received a hint from defense lawyers that he might be interested in a plea.”
Champion said he called the family in this past Monday and talked with them at length.
“I was ready to go forward with some standard pre-trial motions.”
Champion said as he talked with the family, he gave them all the options to weigh in the balance before taking into account their decisions.
“I told them the good things about pleading the case out, and the bad.
“The bad thing is they won’t get the death penalty. Their loved one was killed in a brutal way.
“If Waldron had gone to trial and was sentenced to death, there would be years of the appeals process.
“They basically said they wanted to get it over with.
“My policy has been if the family wants to go forward with a plea agreement, I’ll do it.”
Wanda Dover speaks out
The family knew they didn’t want the charge pled down to any less than murder.
“I would have never gone along with it if it was going to be pled down to manslaughter,” said Wanda Dover, Tina’s mother.
It has been 25 long excruciating weeks for the family of Tina Dover since officers discovered her dead body in the Hampton Inn.
Wanda said she was satisfied with the decision they made to accept the plea.
“I wanted him dead, but in jail for the rest of his life is good enough. He can’t do this to anybody else.”
Wanda said she had no idea what she was walking into when she went to meet with the assistant district attorney Monday.
“They called me Friday and said they wanted to have a meeting and the family members needed to be there.”
She said her decision to accept the plea was based on the fact that it would take years to get the matter settled if Waldron was sentenced to death.
“I didn’t want to go through it over and over again. He still has his capital murder charges, I just didn’t get the death penalty.”
Wanda said she is convinced the authorities arrested the right man in her daughter’s murder.
“I knew from the beginning it was him because he was the last one who was with Tina.
“And the district attorney had the scientific evidence it took to prove that.”
The past months have been tough on the teen’s mother.
“If I could take her place and get her back, I’d do it. I’d be happier if nothing had ever happened.”
Although life in prison gives little comfort to the grieving family “The good thing is he will never be on the streets again,” said Champion.