David Jackson, the Gunnison County man who helped rebury his murdered brother-in-law after finding his body in a manure pile on the family ranch, was on Friday sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Jacob Millison died in 2015, when his mother, Deborah Rudibaugh, shot and killed him as he slept in their Parlin home. The mixed-martial arts enthusiast’s friends pressed her to make a missing persons report and she did, but Millison’s body was not found until Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office investigators executed a search warrant in 2017.

They arrested Rudibaugh, along with her daughter, Stephaine Jackson, and David Jackson, Stephaine’s husband, in 2018.

According to information from arrest affidavits and court proceedings, David Jackson knew Millison, 27, had been killed and buried on the ranch. He found Millison’s body buried in a manure pile; conferred with Stephaine, and then at her instruction reburied Millison in a deep hole, into which he also dumped animal carcasses.

All three defendants pleaded out their cases; David was first to do so. In late 2018, he tendered an Alford plea to tampering with a deceased human body, a class-3 felony and faced a maximum of 10 years in prison. Under an Alford plea, a defendant does not specifically admit guilt, but admits there is enough evidence for a jury to convict. Courts make no distinction between Alford pleas and guilty pleas.

Friday, Millison’s father Ray asked Chief District Judge J. Steven Patrick for lenience in passing sentence. According to the District Attorney’s Office, Ray Millison said he has forgiven David Jackson for his role in the crime against his son.

Patrick imposed 10 years, less 246 days of pre-sentence confinement. He was immediately taken into custody and when he is released, will serve five years on parole. Jackson also was ordered to pay about $100 in court costs.

“The People feel this is an appropriate plea for this defendant,” the District Attorney’s Office said, through spokeswoman Sherry McKenzie.

“This office wishes to express their condolences to Ray Millison and the community of Gunnison County for the death of Jacob.”

Rudibaugh is currently serving a 40-year prison term after pleading guilty earlier this year to second-degree murder. Her age and terminal cancer diagnosis make it unlikely she will live long enough to be released.

Stephaine Jackson was initially charged with first-degree murder as an accomplice. In September, she pleaded guilty to tampering with a deceased human body.

She faces between 16 and 24 years at sentencing Nov. 8.

Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.

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