DA won't seek death penalty in Thomson dragging case

THOMSON — Toombs Judicial Circuit District Attorney Dennis Sanders announced Wednesday he will not seek the death penalty in the 2011 case against two people charged with killing a woman and dragging her body behind a vehicle.

Both Ricky Wells and Tina Wells pleaded not guilty Wednesday in McDuffie County Superior Court during an arraignment hearing. They are charged in the September 2011 death of Jennifer Kitchens Wells, 36. Authorities have said she was shot outside a McDuffie County convenience store and then dragged for several miles, into Warren County.

A special court session will be scheduled this summer for the Wells’ trial, court officials said.

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.

Ricky Wells and Tina Wells were indicted last August by a McDuffie County grand jury. Both are charged, individually and as co-conspirators, with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and aggravating circumstances.

They are being held on $1 million bond each.

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.

Investigators have not disclosed a motive.

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Vigil marks anniversary of Jennifer Kitchens Wells' slaying
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