Jevone L. Little, 22, told Circuit Judge Jon Cunningham Joyce's vehicle approached him on Christmas Eve 2010 and Joyce asked to buy some cocaine. Little got in Joyce's car along with several other men and Joyce drove to a nearby casino to get money and pick up a friend, Little said.
During the transaction, Little became nervous that Joyce was actually an undercover cop and said he no longer wanted to go through with the deal. Then, parked in a Bass Pro Shop parking lot, Joyce "started going crazy," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, and began to physically overpower Little. At that point, Little said he took a gun he'd been carrying out of his pocket and shot Joyce once in the head.
Little and three others in the vehicle fled on foot.
Police contended Little and three other men planned to rob Joyce and shot him in the head while doing so.
Little pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, armed criminal action and attempting to sell a controlled substance Tuesday, the day his trial was to begin.
Joyce was briefly a member of the Minnesota Vikings, playing offensive tackle. He also played in the United Football League for the Las Vegas Locomotives.