THOMSON -- A Dearing man pleaded guilty Friday to the 2011 slaying of his ex-wife who was dragged several miles after her death. He was immediately sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison.
Ricky Charles Wells, 45, will be eligible for parole in 60 years, court officials said.
His trial had been expected in January in McDuffie County Superior Court, but Wells pleaded guilty Friday to the death of Jennifer Kitchens Wells, 36, of Gibson, Ga.
According to authorities, Wells and his girlfriend, Tina Wells, of Boneville, took part in the slaying.
Ricky and Tina Wells were charged individually and as co-conspirators with 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.
The indictment states that Jennifer Wells’ death was outrageously and wantonly vile, horrible and inhuman in that it involved depravity of mind because the victim was shot several times and dragged behind a motor vehicle for several miles.
The death penalty was not being sought and the two defendants were to be tried separately.
In July, Chief Superior Court Judge Roger Dunaway made the decision to conduct Ricky Wells’ trial in McDuffie County after a change of venue hearing.
Both the Toombs Circuit Public Defenders Office and Tina Wells’ attorney, Lucy Bell, requested the trial be held elsewhere because of concerns that news coverage of the slaying would make it difficult to find an unbiased jury.
Dunaway decided to keep the trial in Thomson, after procedural discussions and testimony from news media representatives subpoenaed by defense attorneys.
The judge agreed to delay a change of venue hearing for Tina Wells until after her boyfriend’s trial.