Stephen Headley Pleads Guilty, Again, to Killing Deptford's Nicole Ayres
Nicole Ayres had just returned to South Jersey when she was viciously stabbed to death. Her killer admitted his guilt for a second time Tuesday.
Stephen Headley admitted again in court today that he killed Deptford High School softball star Nicole Ayres, 20, two years ago.
The Florence Township man faces 50 years imprisonment in the plea deal after admitting that he stabbed Ayres to death in Burlington County in September 2010, the Courier-Post reports. Headley had previously pleaded guilty, but his plea was rejected after Ayres' family protested the possible 30-year prison sentence Headley could have received. The new deal means Headley will be imprisoned into his 70s, the Courier-Post reports.
Ayres' body was found off a path beside a soccer field in Southampton Township. The ace softabll pitcher had recently moved back to New Jersey. Headley said he and Ayres fought before he stabbed her to death with a pocket knife and dumped her body. It was found the next day.
Police said Headley confessed to his mother and grandmother about the killing soon after Ayres' body was discovered. As his mother attempted to call police, Headley fled her Pemberton home, was hit by a pickup truck and suffered a broken back.
Ayres had been Deptford High School’s ace pitcher, and went on to pitch at Fordham University, where she won the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year award and finished her freshman season 17-5 with a 2.12 ERA, coming just shy of setting the all-time wins mark for a Fordham freshman. She had transferred to Rutgers-Camden when she was killed.
Deptford High School’s softball field has since been named in Ayres’ memory.