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Details emerge in McDuffie dragging death case

Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 11:36 AM
Last updated 8:50 PM
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THOMSON -- A Dearing man’s guilty plea and sentencing Friday for his role in the brutal 2011 death of his ex-wife, also provided details of the crime that stunned the community.

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Scene of the crime in 2011: Crime scene tape along a section of rural road where body was dragged.  FILE/STAFF
FILE/STAFF
Scene of the crime in 2011: Crime scene tape along a section of rural road where body was dragged.


Ricky Wells, 45, pleaded guilty to malice murder and armed robbery in the slaying of Jennifer Kitchens Wells, of Gibson, Ga., whom authorities say was dragged several miles after her death.

Judge Roger Dunaway sentenced Wells to two consecutive life terms, meaning he won’t be eligible to seek parole for 60 years. His girlfriend, Tina Wells, will be tried separately sometime next year for her role in the death.

The gruesome nature of the case shocked the community, and Judge Dunaway called it the worst he’d seen in his time on the bench. Authorities had released few details over the last two years because of concerns that publicity would jeopardize a fair trial.

At Friday’s hearing, however, Toombs Circuit District Attorney Dennis Sanders told the court what prosecutors believe happened.

According to Sanders, Ricky Wells had been angry with his ex-wife for some time and the rage continued to build. On Sept. 29, 2011, Jennifer Kitchens Wells called to ask that he babysit their 5-year-old son while she went out with some old girlfriends.

Ricky Wells picked up his son and became angry because the boy was dirty, had a rash and soiled pants. He took the child to stay with his own mother while he and his girlfriend Tina devised a plan to kill his former wife.

Later that evening, Jennifer called Ricky to pick up their son. She met him around 10 p.m. at the Happy Valley Store on Wrens Highway in McDuffie County. Sanders said Jennifer Wells arrived first. Ricky and Tina Wells came up and parked behind Jennifer.

Ricky then got out of Tina’s pickup truck, went to Jennifer’s SUV and after a brief discussion, fired several shots that struck her in the head and upper body. The gun jammed and he went to the truck and came back with another gun and fired more shots into his former wife.

Sanders said that Wells then dragged Jennifer’s body out of her vehicle and took some metal choke wire, wrapped it around her ankles and tied her to the trailer hitch on her own vehicle. Ricky Wells got into the driver’s seat of the SUV and drove several miles down paved and dirt roads, dragging his former wife’s body.

According to Sanders, Wells said that Tina Wells drove her pickup truck behind Jennifer’s body down the roads. The two had planned to drag her body in order to humiliate her and to hopefully disguise her and eliminate any evidence. Sanders said that at the time of his arrest, Ricky Wells, proclaimed he “was proud of killing the bitch.”

Members of the victim’s family were in court, but did not speak. Sanders said Friday’s sentence was what the family sought.

Comments (13) Add comment
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Georgialina
7441
Points
Georgialina 12/14/13 - 01:08 pm
13
0
Wow !!

I am at a loss for words. I have never been that angry with anybody or anything to do something that horrible. I do not think I could EVER be that angry.

Fiat_Lux
16422
Points
Fiat_Lux 12/14/13 - 01:36 pm
6
1
And he made his 5 yo son watch the whole thing.

What a dad! He's outraged that his wife allowed the boy to be dirty and have soiled pants and a rash, but somehow doesn't worry at all about the effect it will have on his child to see his mother murdered by his father, followed immediately by watching her body be shredded as it was dragged across 3 counties and miles of paved and unpaved roads.

Yeah, what a dad! And what a family, that could produce such a monster!

Graymare
3784
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Graymare 12/14/13 - 04:16 pm
4
1
Fiat-Lux, This is more than

Fiat-Lux, This is more than horrible but the article doesn't say the child was with his father (and I use that term loosely) but rather with the grandmother. Did I misread? Thanks. In any case, the "couple from hell" are going to get off easy with life in prison. The poor victim...what a horrific way to die. How nauseating!

rebellious
21865
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rebellious 12/14/13 - 05:03 pm
10
0
Death Penalty

What crime is the death penalty applicable for, if not something as heinous as this? It was, by admission, pre-meditated. It was by definition brutal at the point of death. It involved mutilation of the deceased. It involved a willing accomplice. The admitted murderer was not mentally insane. Why a plea bargain to sustain a useless life at taxpayer expense? Sorry, I don't get it. And I bet the family of Jennifer Kitchens Wells doesn't get it. Anyone ever seen the movie "To Kill A Mockingbird"? This case is act 1, 2 and 3. Unbelievable!

LillyfromtheMills
14295
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LillyfromtheMills 12/14/13 - 06:04 pm
0
1
Reb

Our high school kids are reading to kill a mocking bird - your point?

nocnoc
49130
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nocnoc 12/14/13 - 08:18 pm
4
0
Correction to a earlier facts I presented.

I told by a McDuffie family member of mine, that the boy was 12, it turns out he was 5, Kindergarten age. Which makes it even worse.

Anything I want to say Sean, would be right in censoring.

So I will just wish this piece of excrement a short, but extremely NEWS Worthy experience behind bars.

raul
5729
Points
raul 12/14/13 - 10:26 pm
4
0
@rebellious. I'm with you on

@rebellious. I'm with you on the death penalty issue. I can't think of many case more appropriate for the death penalty than this one. The case wasn't complicated and should have been a slam dunk for the prosecution. They may as well not have a death penalty if it isn't used when appropriate. You don't see cases more cold blooded than this one.

Fiat_Lux
16422
Points
Fiat_Lux 12/14/13 - 11:40 pm
2
1
@ Graymare

The information about the child witnessing the whole thing was in another article. However, perhaps that information was not accurate.

You have to wonder how this monstrous moron actually thought he might get away with this. He apparently is a dimwitted as he is evil, and his accomplice as well.

nocnoc
49130
Points
nocnoc 12/15/13 - 06:59 am
1
0
Perfect Crime

is a crime only the criminal knows it has been committed.

The only perfect secret, is a secret known only to the holder.

Therefore the only perfect Murder, has to be done by 1 person, and no one must know it was committed.

seenitB4
97428
Points
seenitB4 12/16/13 - 08:24 am
1
1
Believe it or not

The dogs in that area howled that night....a low wailing & sad moaning...I know some who live near by .....

lgr
240
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lgr 12/16/13 - 11:26 am
0
0
dragging death

small counties do not have the funds available for a death penally case. all of you are always thinking DEATH PENALTY without thinking of the cost to the taxpayers, wake up it all about money

David Parker
7923
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David Parker 12/16/13 - 11:48 am
1
0
then the state should step

then the state should step in. If it's on the table, money should not be the limiting factor on how much to punish a criminal.

Red Headed Step Child
4490
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Red Headed Step Child 12/16/13 - 03:54 pm
0
0
Money's an issue?

Wow. That shouldn't dictate the punishment. Taxpayers have had their "money" spent on more frivolous things than proper punishments.. Pass the hat - I'll throw in a few bucks towards this monster's demise.

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