The man accused of hiring a hit man to kill his newlywed wife walked into a Sumner County courtroom Monday for the expected start of his trial. Instead, he'll walk out of prison in less than a month.
Tyrone Tackett pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter for the death of his wife, Selena Tackett, who disappeared from their Hendersonville home in 2003 after an apparent argument.
Her body has never been found.
In exchange for the plea, Tyrone Tackett was sentenced to five years at 30 percent with credit for time served. And with credit for the time he's already spent in jail waiting for trial, he'll be released to begin serving two years probation April 15.
"He has always insisted on his innocence in this case, and we were able to strike an appropriate balance with the best interest plea," said defense attorney Peter Strianse.
Prosecutors had indicted Tyrone Tackett for his wife's murder in 2011, saying he tried to hire a hit man to kill his wife, but when that didn't work out, the district attorney said Tackett killed her himself.
Last week, the hit man charge fell apart when the district attorney realized the statute of limitations had run out.
The case was too risky to bring to a jury, as it was a case based on circumstantial evidence with no eyewitnesses and no physical evidence.
"There's no body and no semblance of a body, and that's a hard sell to make," said district attorney Ray Whitley.
Tyrone Tackett entered what's called a best interest plea, meaning he accepts the sentence without saying he's guilty.
"What it means to me, your honor, is that I'm not guilty, that I plead that I'm guilty and it's in my best interest to plead that I'm guilty. But I don't agree to the facts that the state claims," Tyrone Tackett said in the courtroom Monday.
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Tuesday, September 2 2014 12:51 PM EDT2014-09-02 16:51:41 GMT
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