Ricky Wells pleads guilty to brutal murder of his ex-wife

News 12 at 11 / Friday, December 13, 2013

THOMSON, Ga. (WRDW) -- "It's finally over" were the words repeated as the victim's family walked out of court in Thomson this afternoon.

"It is satisfying that we were able to accomplish what the family has wanted from day one. This is what they wanted," District Attorney Dennis Sanders said.

Today in court, Ricky Wells pled guilty to malice murder and armed robbery for a crime even the judge said is one of the most horrific he's seen.

"These facts are just brutal. They're horrible, horrible facts," emphasized Sanders.

They're also facts the family was forced to re-live as Sanders made his case for double life sentences.

"Consecutive life means that he is not eligible for parole for 60 years. Ricky wells is 45 years old. So you can do the math very quickly," he said.

Wells pled guilty to shooting his ex-wife Jennifer Kitchens Wells several times in the head and then dragging her body behind an SUV for nearly 17 miles.

"She didn't have any defense. Nothing. Brutally shooting her, and then he wanted to purposefully disfigure her and disgrace her," Sanders said.

Those are just a few of the gruesome details that would have come out if they had gone to trial, which was the plan until about two days ago when Ricky changed his mind.

"This was really a bit of a surprise. We were all prepared for trial," Sanders admitted. "According to his attorney, he loves his mother and his son, and he did not want to put them through the ordeal of the trial."

It was a welcome surprise from the victim's family.

"I think he took the blue pill, the reality pill, and that set in and he realized he was going to spend the rest of his life in prison," said Sanders. "Some of them broke down in tears immediately. I think all of them did actually, just with tears of relief. From a prosecutor's point of view, I can go home and write in my diary, 'this was a good day.'"

Wells' hands and legs were shaking as he stood before the judge. Right before the sentence he did offer a quick apology, but at this point 'sorry' was just not enough.

He avoided the death penalty today, but he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

He was not the only one who was accused in this murder. Tina Wells, Ricky's girlfriend, is also charged in the crime. In an interesting twist, Tina was married to Ricky's uncle for a while, but was divorced at the time of the crime. Her case should go to trial sometime next year.

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