BUTTS COUNTY, Ga. - It took nearly two decades, but Wednesday law enforcement finally got a conviction in a murder case that had gone cold.
Fuqua Cashaw, 47, pleaded guilty to malice murder in the death of Heather Davidson on October 7, 1999.
Prosecutors said Cashaw met Davidson at the Clayton County club where she worked. The pair left together that night, but later got into an argument.
"The defendant at some point struck the victim in the head and proceeded to strangle her to death," Towaliga Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jonathan Adams said in court.
Cashaw dumped Davidson's body off a dirt road in Butts County. Years later, deputies linked him to the crime using DNA evidence, but it was not until technology advanced further that law enforcement was able to rule out Cashaw's alibi and he confessed to the crime in 2015.
"We felt that with that confession and the DNA that we had enough evidence to proceed to trial on," explained Adams.
In February 2017, Adams notified Cashaw and his attorneys that he planned to seek the death penalty in the case, but instead, Cashaw pleaded guilty in exchange for a life sentence.
"There is so much that could go right and could go wrong with these types of cases. So, having some final resolution that is a conviction--is a conviction to the malice murder and is a life sentence, for us is absolutely justice in this case and we're excited for that," Adams said.
Davidson's family did not want to speak after court, but Butts County Sheriff Gary Long said they are relieved the case has come to a conclusion.
"This is never going to bring their daughter back, nothing will," said Sheriff Long. "It just finally closes a book for them that they've had open for the last 18 years."
In Georgia, a life sentence is 30 years. So, Cashaw will be 77 years old before he is eligible for parole.