David Edward Drommond Jr.

FARMINGTON — A man accused of gunning down his ex-wife and wounding her father in a child-custody exchange has struck a plea deal with prosecutors.

David Edward Drommond Jr., 32, pleaded guilty Monday to aggravated murder, a first-degree felony. In exchange for his plea, Davis County prosecutors took the option to pursue the death penalty off the table.

"The death penalty is so difficult to get," deputy Davis County attorney Bill McGuire told the Deseret Morning News Monday. "Everybody feels like it's justification, but when it comes down to a case by case basis, people feel it's very difficult to vote for death."

Questions surrounded Drommond's mental competency throughout the case, he had no major criminal history, and a plea deal had the support of his victims' family, McGuire said. Prosecutors dismissed charges of attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony; and a class A misdemeanor violation of a protective order as part of the plea bargain.

A special trial will be held next year to decide what kind of prison sentence Drommond will receive. A 12-person jury will have to decide if he will receive life in prison with or without the possibility of parole.

"We put on, if you will, a mini-trial so they know what happened in the case," McGuire said.

In August 2005, Drommond shot and killed his ex-wife, 29-year-old Janeil Bradley Drommond, as she was dropping off their children for a visit at his Bountiful home. Her father, Neil Reed Bradley, was also shot, but survived.

E-mail: bwinslow@desnews.com