THOMSON — Friends and family of Jennifer Kitchens Wells gathered at a rural graveyard Saturday night to remember the Glascock County woman a year after her death stunned the community.
“It’s rough,” said her younger sister, Christy Myers. “I try to take it one day at a time.”
In an intimate gathering at Wells’ graveside, friends and family watched a slideshow of photos and shared fond memories of the mother of two.
“We’re just trying to remember her – not what happened, but her,” said her sister Rochelle Cosby.
They recalled the amazing cakes she used to bake, her ability to sew anything and her love for butterflies, which adorned her grave.
Though those closest were able to smile as they remembered the woman they knew, they said it hasn’t gotten easier.
“I wake up every morning and look at her picture and tell her I love her and miss her,” Cosby said. “She’s the last person I talk to at night.”
Police said Wells, 36, of Gibson, Ga., was fatally shot outside a McDuffie County convenience store and that her body was dragged several miles into Warren County.
Authorities quickly arrested her ex-husband, Ricky Wells, 44, of Dearing, and his girlfriend, Tina Wells, 41, of Boneville. Both are being held in the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center.
Their trial date is uncertain. Last week Dennis Sanders, the Toombs Circuit district attorney, told Thomson news media that he would neither discuss the case nor reveal when it might go to trial.
Investigators say they’re ready.
“It’s really in the district attorney’s hands right now,” Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Mike Ayers said last week.
Both suspects were scheduled to go before Superior Court Judge Harold Hinesley on Wednesday morning for arraignment. However, a delay was granted late Tuesday.
Court officials said the delay was requested by the district attorney’s office. The arraignment will be scheduled for a miscellaneous plea day, possibly in October.
Ricky Wells and Tina Wells were indicted Aug. 2 by a McDuffie County grand jury. Both are charged individually and as co-conspirators with one count of malice murder, two counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault, one count of armed robbery, three counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and three counts of aggravating circumstances.
They each are being held on $1 million bond. Should the two enter not guilty pleas, they most likely will be scheduled for trial in 2013, court officials say.
The crime shocked the community. Investigators believe the victim was lured from her home in Glascock County to the isolated McDuffie County convenience store to discuss a child custody situation.
After being shot, authorities said, her body was hooked to Ricky Wells’ pickup and dragged into Warren County, possibly to avoid leaving incriminating blood stains in the vehicle, police have said.
Initially it was not apparent whether Wells died from the shooting or the dragging, but autopsy results indicated the gunshot was fatal.
“Determining what happened and who was responsible was not that difficult of a task, but it was a shocking crime scene,” Ayers said. “From an emotional standpoint, it’s probably much more graphic than most that we’ve encountered.”
Investigators have not revealed a possible motive. Court records show that Jennifer Kitchens Wells took out a temporary protective order against Ricky Wells in June 2009 while their divorce was pending and stated in court documents that he had threatened violence.
Correspondent Donna Stillinger contributed to this report.