Ferrell was attempting to steal woman's purse at a Texas gas station when he was encountered by Irick. The woman was not injured.
The brutal murder was captured on a security video.
Unlike the murders of nine black people in Charleston, South Carolina this week, the murder didn't attract national media attention, was not exploited to exacerbate racial hatred, nor did the governor hold a news conference to declare the heart and soul of Texas had been broken.
The crime occurred in 2010.
Ferrell entered his plea earlier this week.
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