Pittsylvania County woman pleads guilty to murder, arson

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DANVILLE (WSLS 10) - Christy Michelle Beskin showed little emotion as she sat next to her attorney in court today, pleading guilty to charges of second degree murder and arson.

The case was originally scheduled to go to trial next week.

"Well, you look at the evidence and then the client decides what's the best course with what you have to deal with," Beskin's attorney, Deborah Caldwell-Bono, said.

Beskin's attorney says Beskin is remorseful about what happened.

"Oh, absolutely. She basically ended up with one of her best friends dead as a result of what happened that night."

Wayne Aaron, a cousin of Lanier's, spoke on behalf of the family after court was adjourned.

"Today was very emotional for the entire family," Aaron said. "Just hearing little things that maybe we hadn't heard before."

Prior to the plea, the prosecutor laid out the evidence that would've been used against Beskin if the case had gone to trial.

The prosecutor said Beskin and Lanier were drinking alcohol and doing crack cocaine for nearly twelve hours before the two got into an argument, which ultimately led to Beskin beating Lanier to death.

The prosecutor told the court Beskin hit Lanier with multiple objects, including a sword and a drink cooler.

"We're very glad she's stepping up and taking responsibility for this," Aaron pointed out.

According to search warrants, Beskin admitted to setting fire to Lanier's home.

The prosecutor pointed out during Beskin's interviews with detectives Beskin repeatedly claimed that she couldn't remember a lot about what happened. Something Beskin's attorney says isn't all that surprising.

"I would expect that because of the sheer horror of the scene, you might not want to remember a lot of things," said Caldwell-Bono.

Beskin is set to be sentenced on March 9th. She could face up to 50 years in jail.