KINGMAN, Ariz. – James David Collins was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Friday in Mohave County Superior Court.
That was the maximum sentence possible in this case as Collins plead guilty in April to second degree murder charges for killing his close friend Cynthia Marie Horn.
This plea agreement had Collins facing 10 to 20 years.
In 2014 Collins shot Horn two times in the head and then drove her body from Yucca to Yuma, burying her in a field owned by his family. Collins says it was all in a drunken rage after they had an argument.
“If you had to protect yourself why would you need two shots in the back of her head this was an execution and could easily be a first degree murder case,” says Judge Billy Sipe Jr.
After the murder, Collins fled to Mexico, where he was arrested for a weapons violation and had spent months in captivity before being released back to the U.S. but his freedom didn’t last long.
On May 5th, 2015 Collins was staying at his parents’ home in Yuma. U.S. Marshals surrounded the home and arrested him for failing his sex offender registry requirements and then he confessed to Horn’s Murder.
“The defendant did help locate Cynthia Horn’s body without his help it’s unlikely her body would have been recovered,” said Sipe.
During sentencing, Collins stood up and said he’s sorry to Horn’s and her family.
“To the court I am sorry for what I did, I don’t sleep nights, I was a coward for killing her and burying her body in Yuma,” said Collins.
But Collins’ apologies to Horn’s family and friends were not accepted.
“I hate James David Collins, I hate him for what he put the family through he can’t get out of jail or he will do it again. I need to forgive him but not for him, for me, so I can sleep at night, I don’t care if he sleeps at night,” said one woman who knew Horn.
Collins has an extensive criminal history.
The state prosecutor says, “He has eight previous convictions and basically lived a life full of crime.”
Collins says he hopes to help other alcoholics in prison to try and help others from making his same mistakes.