The trial of an Aiken man ended abruptly Wednesday after he decided to plead guilty to participating in the murder of 74-year-old David Mackie in New Ellenton in 2017.

Jayson Miles, 20, pleaded guilty to the charge of murder Wednesday. 

Mackie’s body was discovered April 22, 2017, after police responded to a trailer fire in New Ellenton. Investigators discovered Mackie had been hit on the head multiple times with a hammer.

Miles joins co-defendant Kayla Nicole Moore, 21, of New Ellenton, who pleaded guilty to Mackie's murder on July 26, 2018. She was given a life sentence.

Defense attorney Nick McCarley appeared in court with Miles on Wednesday to announce the trial, which began Tuesday, would no longer continue due to Miles' decision to take a plea.

Along with the murder charge, Miles was also facing charges for armed robbery, conspiracy, second-degree arson and grand larceny, $5,000 or more. The state dropped those charges in accordance with his plea.

The guilty plea led Miles to confess to participating in Mackie's murder.

Judge Clifton Newman did not immediately sentence Miles on Wednesday, stating a pre-sentencing report must be filed first due to his young age at the time of his arrest.

Newman explained Miles will receive a sentence from him in 60 to 90 days, depending on when the report is filed.

Miles' relationship with Moore was reported to be that of "close friends," solicitors said.

Judge Doyet A. Early III, who presided over Moore's 2018 hearing, stated he had never witnessed someone as "cold" as Moore in his career, which spanned more than 40 years. This statement was a direct response to Moore's disturbing behavior during the hearing, where she was seen smiling and laughing while members of Mackie's family gave tearful statements.

On April 22, 2017, Aiken County Sheriff's Office deputies and the New Ellenton Fire Department responded to 1018 Cedar St. around 10:29 p.m. after receiving a 911 call for a residential fire, according to the report.

The 911 caller claimed to hear a "small explosion" and found the trailer next door was fully engulfed in flames, the report states.

Fire crews responded to the scene and entered the trailer, where they found Mackie's body on the floor in the back bedroom of the trailer.

An autopsy was performed on the body, revealing that the fire was not the cause of Mackie's death, instead revealing his injuries were consistent with "blunt force trauma" and the use of a "sharp force."

Witnesses told deputies Moore had been staying in the trailer, which was owned by Mackie. He had allowed Moore to stay in the trailer, free of charge in an attempt to help her after she claimed to have nowhere else to go at the time.

The events leading up to Mackie's murder are not clear, but Moore and Miles killed him inside the trailer, which they set on fire in an attempt to hide the evidence, police reported.

The two fled the scene after stealing Mackie's vehicle. After crossing state lines into Georgia, the car ended up breaking down, and the two were forced to walk on foot, the report states.

On April 23, 2017, the Morgan County Sheriff's Office found the stolen vehicle abandoned on the side of the road. A search of the area led to Moore and Miles being found by police at a Waffle House in Conyers, Georgia.

The Rockdale County Sheriff's Office arrested the two on grand larceny charges associated with Mackie's stolen vehicle.

On May 5, 2017, Moore and Miles were extradited to the Aiken County detention center, where they were charged and held without bond.

Miles will remain in custody at the detention center until his sentencing.

Tripp Girardeau is the crime and courts reporter with the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter at @trippgirardeau.