CLAYTON, Mo. – The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office reached a plea agreement with a Jennings man in a 2018 murder in order to spare the victim’s family from going through a trial.

Brian Clay, 47, admitted in court that he shot his girlfriend, Loreal Goode, outside a Family Dollar store over $36.

The murder took place around 10:50 a.m. on June 13, 2018, in the 6400 block of West Florissant Avenue. Officers with the St. Louis County Police Department arrived to find Goode dead inside a parked car with a gunshot wound to her head. She was 32.

Goode’s daughter, who was 14 at the time, was sitting next to her mother at the time of the shooting.

Investigators said Clay shot Goode while the two were sitting in Goode’s car. Clay wanted Goode to bring him to a pawn shop and give him $36, so he could retrieve his television. When Goode refused, Clay shot her. Clay then stole Goode’s cellphone, debit card, and car.

Police arrested Clay a short time later at an area casino.

At the time, prosecutors charged Clay with first-degree murder, first-degree robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm, and armed criminal action.

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell said Clay agreed to plead guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder, with approval from the victim’s family. The other charges were unaltered.

“This plea agreement, which the victim’s family supported, spares the victim’s daughter the ordeal of reliving this horrific event before a courtroom of strangers and being confronted by the man who killed her mother before her eyes,” Bell said.

Prior to sentencing, Clay addressed the court and apologized multiple times for killing Goode.

“I don’t know what possessed me to do that,” he said. “I don’t deserve mercy. I don’t deserve forgiveness.”

Goode’s aunt and daughter read brief victim impact statements at the plea hearing. While her aunt said she accepted Clay’s apology, Goode’s daughter did not.

“You knew exactly what you were doing,” she said.

A St. Louis County Circuit Court judge sentenced Clay to life imprisonment on the murder charge, 10 years on both the robbery and armed criminal action charges, and four years for unlawful possession. Clay will serve the three lesser counts concurrently, but consecutively to the life sentence. He must serve 85% of his sentence before being eligible for parole.

“This cold-blooded killer will have the rest of his life in prison to reflect on why he did what he did,” Bell said.