DAVID John McCauley has pleaded guilty to murder for burning to death Wade Still by the side of an isolated stretch of road at Whitebridge in August last year.
Mr McCauley was represented by solicitor Chris O'Brien when he appeared in Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday via audio visual link from Wellington Correctional Centre.
He pleaded guilty to murder and the matter was adjourned to Sydney Supreme Court on November 1 for Mr McCauley to get a sentence date.
He faces a maximum of life in jail for what was undoubtedly a gratuitously cruel killing.
A taxi driver told police he was driving along Oakdale Road about 1am on August 20, 2018, when he saw a small fire in grass by the side of the road at the entrance to a quarry.
He did a u-turn and called triple-zero before hearing screaming and seeing Mr Still "sitting, huddled on the ground" near the fire.
The taxi driver called triple-zero again to update them and asked Mr Still "are you hurt?". Mr Still replied: "I'm dying. I'm dying."
The taxi driver tried to help Mr Still speak to the triple-zero operator but he continued to scream "I'm dying", according to police facts tendered last year.
A Fire and Rescue NSW officer arrived a short time later and asked Mr Still his name and what happened.
"David McCauley poured petrol on me," Mr Still replied.
"Are you and Dave mates?" the firefighter asked. "We were," Mr Still replied.
The firefighter asked if Mr Still if he and "Dave" were out lighting fires, to which Mr Still replied "no".
Mr Still then continued to repeat his accused murderer's name and said "David McCauley did it", according to police facts tendered last year.
Detectives claimed that due to the fact Mr Still believed he was about to die from his injuries, that those statements to witnesses could be classified as a "dying declaration", one of the exceptions to the ban of hearsay evidence being used in criminal proceedings.
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