Thomson DA explains why he won't seek death penalty in 2011 slaying

Recommendations of victim's family, law enforcement cited

THOMSON — District Attorney Dennis Sanders says he will not seek the death penalty against two people charged in a 2011 slaying because of a variety of circumstances, including the recommendation of the victim’s family and local law enforcement.

Both Ricky Wells and Tina Wells pleaded not guilty Wednesday in McDuffie County Superior Court during an arraignment hearing.

They are charged in the death of Wells’ former wife Jennifer Kitchens Wells, 36, who was shot outside a convenience store then dragged behind a vehicle for several miles into Warren County.

Sanders, who prosecutes cases in the Toombs Judicial Circuit, which includes McDuffie County, has refused to publicly discuss the case, but provided a list of reasons to a newspaper in Thomson. He says he will seek life without parole for both suspects.

Among the reasons he cited were recommendations from the family of the victim and local and state law enforcement.

He also cited the trial’s potential impact on the community, media publicity and a probable change of venue.

A change of venue has been requested for both Ricky and Tina Wells, but no hearing has been scheduled on the issue.

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