• Wells enters guilty plea, given two life sentences
By Linda Green
Ricky Wells entered a McDuffie County courtroom Friday at 3 p.m. and plead guilty to malice murder and armed robbery.
Wells, 45, is one-half of the couple charged with the Sept. 29, 2011 dragging death of Jennifer Wells.
For his plea, Wells was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Roger Dunaway to serve two life sentences consecutively.
Wells will serve 60 years in prison before he can be considered for parole, said both the judge and the district attorney.
The family of Jennifer Kitchen Wells, law enforcement and attorneys for Tina Wells, the co-defendant, watched Wells’ enter his guilty plea. The date for Tina Wells’ trial has not been announced, but Ricky Wells was scheduled for trial Jan. 13-17.
A plea agreement reached between Wells, his attorneys and the district attorney’s office negated the trial and Wells changed his previous plea from not guilty to guilty during the Friday court appearance.
District Attorney Dennis Sanders outlined the events of the case, its brutal nature as well as the findings of the grand jury that indicted Wells and Tina Wells.
The crime began at the Happy Valley Convenience Store on Wrens Highway and continued for several miles across multiple county lines. The death involved Ricky Wells shooting Jennifer Wells, his former spouse, attaching her body to a trailer hitch and dragging her several miles behind her own SUV. Jennifer Wells was meeting Ricky Wells at the store to pick up Casey, their then 5-year old son, who had been with Ricky Wells.
Sanders said that Ricky Wells, at the time of his arrest, proclaimed he “was proud of killing the bitch.”
Prior to sentencing, Judge Dunaway stated that the cases of Ricky Wells and Tina Wells have affected the entire county. He said publicity about the cases have gone around the state and across the nation.
“This was horrific and is the worst that I have seen since I have been on the bench,” he said.
According to Sanders, whenever anyone loses someone to murder, the family endures an emotional pain that is devastating.
“The judicial system unintentionally creates even more pain and suffering on the family of the deceased,” the district attorney said. He added that the pain of this process has been difficult to put into words.
“The brutality of the crime is something that they will never get over,” the district attorney said.
Family members declined to comment in court about their feelings or the sentence. But, Sanders said Wells’ sentence was what the family sought.
“There is a feeling of satisfaction in knowing that this is what the family wanted and we were able to accomplish it without having to go through a trial,” Sanders said.
“This is a good day,” he said, adding that it was such for the family and for the prosecutors.
Agnes Swint, aunt to Jennifer Kitchen Wells, said she was glad that a portion of the case is over. “I am glad that this is over. I have been praying for this,” she said.
“We will also be present for Tina Wells’ case,” she said.
Since the case has unfolded, Ricky and Jennifer’s son has been with Ricky Wells’ family.
“Now that this is over and done with, we are going to find a way to get Casey back to his maternal grandmother,” said Angel Jones, niece of the late Kitchen Wells.