A Dearing man and his girlfriend could face a McDuffie County jury as early as September in the slaying of the man’s ex-wife, who was shot, tied to a pickup and dragged more than five miles along a rural highway.
Ricky Charles Wells, 43, and Tina Ann Wells, 40, of Boneville, were charged in the Sept. 29 death of Jennifer Kitchens Wells and remain jailed on bonds set at $1 million apiece. The bond was required because the suspects had been jailed longer than 90 days without indictment.
“The next step would be taking the case to indictment, and hopefully, by the time we are ready to do that, all the reports we need will be back in,” said District Attorney Dennis Sanders of the six-county Toombs Judicial Circuit.
Authorities say the victim, a 36-year-old mother of two, was lured from her home in Gibson, Ga., to the Happy Valley convenience store near Thomson, supposedly to discuss a child custody situation.
The shooting is believed to have occurred in the store parking lot, but the investigation required scrutiny of a grisly, five-mile crime scene that extended from the store and into neighboring Warren County, where the body was recovered.
A key question to be answered is whether the victim was alive when she was tied to the truck and dragged.
The next opportunity for the grand jury to consider indictments in the case will be June, followed by another session in August, Sanders said. The next trial term will be held in September.
“As long as the case is indicted in June or August, there is a chance it could get on the September trial term,” he said.
The case could be evaluated as a potential death penalty prosecution, but no decisions have been made.
“Once we get the GBI reports in, and have a chance to read and examine everything, we will sit down with our staff to discuss what happens from there,” Sanders said.