John Gregory Davis, 45, was fatally shot by Spriggs at his Old Dalton Road home on Nov. 17, 2009.
Spriggs was also sentenced Monday, Oct. 22, for a long list of other crimes, including aggravated assault for shooting his former girlfriend’s brother in-law at a home on Clinton Drive on that fateful day while four women hid.
The former girlfriend had taken out a restraining order against Spriggs before the murder.
Spriggs pleaded guilty but mentally ill to the charges on Oct. 12. He has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, according to court testimony.
After hearing the Davis family and his own family speak to Matthews, Spriggs told the judge everything said to him was “well deserved,” admitting to assaulting his former girlfriend and killing her father.
“The night of the (Nov.) 15, I did something I vowed to never do,” Spriggs said. “I put my hands on a female. I was raised better than that.”
He asked for forgiveness from the Davis family and his own family during his testimony, citing two incidents that he said changed his life.
A friend killed in front of him while he was serving in the military and another friend committed suicide when he returned to Rome after he was released from service.
Spriggs’ military service was mentioned often by family members, who told Matthews that Spriggs had changed after he returned from the service.
District Attorney Leigh Patterson said that when preparing for the case, she knew that much was going to be said about Spriggs’ military service.
She said that Spriggs was discharged from the military for huffing chemicals.
Patterson also disputed Spriggs’ claims that he shot Davis in a panic when Davis tried to call 911. Davis was running away from Spriggs, and the four shots were in a military pattern, she said.
After hearing the tearful statements from Davis’ family that Spriggs not be released from prison and pleas from Spriggs’ family to give him a chance to be free and get treatment at some point, Matthews said that he firmly believed that life without parole was the appropriate sentence, calling the crimes evil and abhorrent.
“You had an opportunity with the court order to stay away from this family,” Matthews said.
As for the forgiveness that Spriggs said he wanted, Matthews said, “There is nobody on the face of this earth who can give you forgiveness. You brought it up yourself, and I’ll leave it at that. That’s between you and your maker.”