Randy Marcel wept but didn’t raise his eyes to look at Patricia Killingsworth as she told a Gretna courtroom Tuesday how her daughter’s brutal stabbing death at Marcel’s hands two years ago in Grand Isle has “ripped my family apart.”

He didn’t look up when she showed a photo of Jennifer Dozier and the 2-year-old son she left behind, a son who authorities said was present when Marcel stabbed his fiancée 44 times with a fillet knife during an argument about cigarettes on June 21, 2014.

Marcel didn’t look up as Killingsworth said she blamed herself for allowing him back into the family “one too many times” and that all she had to say to him directly was “that God have mercy on your soul.”

Moments later, 24th Judicial District Court Judge Lee Faulkner handed down a life prison term without chance of parole, probation or suspended sentence, the mandatory term for the second-degree murder charge to which Marcel pleaded guilty Tuesday morning.

Marcel, 29, of Chauvin, admitted to the charge as jury selection for his trial was about to begin.

After the surprise plea, sentencing was delayed until 4 p.m. so about a dozen of Dozier’s relatives could travel to the court from Chauvin.

As family members sobbed, Killingsworth said Dozier’s son Gabriel cries at night for his mother.

“It’s broken me,” she said.

“I cannot begin to tell anyone the heartache and the pain that I suffer every night, every day, without her,” Killingsworth said. “She was far from perfect, but she was mine. She was my daughter.”

According to Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick’s office, Marcel knocked Dozier to the ground near Cypress Lane and La. 1 during an argument about her having his cigarettes. She got up and walked toward their vehicle, saying she was going to call the police, when Marcel attacked her with a blue-handled fillet knife — an attack witnessed by Marcel’s cousin and a friend.

Dozier suffered 10 stab wounds to her head, two of which punctured her brain; 24 wounds to her trunk; five to her neck; and three defensive wounds on her hands, among other injuries, according to prosecutors.

Dozier was an amputee, and police found her body near her aluminum crutches in the grassy parking area near the beach.

Killingsworth said she tried to treat “Randy Paul” like family, giving him many second chances in the two years he dated her daughter, “but I never in a million years expected anything like that from him.”

“I guess it’s my fault for letting him back in one too many times,” she said. “I’m guilty of that, of letting him back in. But it’s ripped my family apart.”

Killingsworth even apologized to her other children for the times her grief kept her from being there for them.

“I can’t fix them; I can hardly fix myself,” she said. “Every day is a struggle.”

In April, Marcel was walking into court for a sanity hearing when Dozier’s brother stood up and punched him in the face before being restrained by deputies. The brother apologized to the court and was fined $100.

Killingsworth said Dozier’s death is “something we have to learn to live with … and try to move on.”

Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.