News 12 at 11/ Thursday, May 2, 2014
THOMSON, Ga. (WRDW) -- Tina Wells will serve life in prison for the shooting and dragging death of McDuffie County mother Jennifer Kitchens Wells.
Tina pled guilty to malice murder and armed robbery, admitting to a crime in 2011 where she helped her boyfriend shoot his ex wife several times and then drove behind his truck as he dragged the body more than 17 miles.
It's one of the most gruesome crimes our area has seen, but Thursday was all about relief for Jennifer's family and turning torture into closure as Tina Wells goes away for life.
Three years of misery are finally over as Wells stepped into a courtroom and walked away with a life sentence.
"Actually it made me feel relief because that part of us is behind us now, and we can learn to move on," sister Rochelle Cosby said.
Ricky Wells will serve two consecutive life terms after agreeing to a plea deal last year, but it's what happened in 2011 that still haunts the family. Their sister, Jennifer Kitchens Wells, was shot multiple times and then dragged behind a truck for 17 miles through three counties.
Cosby was in the courtroom today and says Tina made a comment about not being able to see what was really going on. Cosby doesn't buy it.
"How can a human sit there and ride behind somebody that's dragging another human and it's looking like a fish out of water?" she asked.
Jennifer's mother says she can't get it out of her head.
"It goes around in my mind everyday. I imagine how she'd look and all after they got through dragging her like they did," mother June Kitchens said.
It's enough to fuel rage for decades, but this family says they're ready to heal.
"When this hapened, we pulled together as a stronger family. It's bad this had to happen to make us stronger, but we realized how valuable our lives are," Cosby said.
Tina Wells will spend her life in prison with a chance of parole after 30 years, a fact that gives the family comfort.
"At least I know she'll be old and gray by the time she has a chance to get out," Myers said.
As one woman is punished, three are freed as justice for their sister is finally paid.
What could have easily been a death penalty trial for Ricky and Tina will never happen, but the pair will spend the rest of their lives in jail.
In the video, it is mentioned that Tina Wells will spend 50 years in prison. To clarify, with a life sentence Wells will have a parole hearing after 30 years. She will be required to serve 20 years for the armed robbery conviction. This means she will serve a minimum of 50 years in prison if she is granted parole.
An excerpt from the Georgia Department of Pardons and Paroles:
"Most parole-eligible offenders serving a life sentence for a serious violent felony (murder, rape, aggravated sodomy, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sexual battery, armed robbery, or kidnapping) will initially be considered for parole after serving 14 years. Those offenders who committed such crimes on or after July 1, 2006, will not be considered for parole until they have served 30 years. Most life-sentenced offenders convicted of serious violent felonies before 1995 were eligible for parole after seven years and have already received their initial parole consideration. Approximately 3,000 of these life-sentenced offenders are still in the prison system. More than 1,000 of these offenders have already served 20 or more years on their life sentence."