As the result of a plea agreement reached Wednesday afternoon, capital murder defendant Sarilu Ann Mettlin was sentenced to serve two consecutive 10-year prison sentences and, at the completion of the sentences, must return to court and be sentenced to another 10 years of probation.
Mettlin, 42, was facing a possible death sentence for her role in the strangulation death of Bobby Riley in April 2011.
Mettlin, along with Brian Allen Tucker, was indicted for capital murder in the death. The charge was capital murder because the pair also commited a second felony by robbing Riley’s home.
Tucker, who escaped from the county jail about two months ago, accepted a plea agreement in which he was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. He reached that deal with prosecutors almost immediately after he was captured.
According to Hopkins County Sheriff's Office investigators, Tucker had made statements that he would not testify against Mettlin, and District Attorney Will Ramsay said that testimony would have been vital in the capital murder trial.
“I don't know what his thought process was,” Ramsay said. “I know there have been multiple statements, but a key piece of evidence moving forward would be his testimony, and so it would be important that he testify.”
On Wednesday three new charges were filed against Mettlin in connection with the plea deal.
“We filed some information, complaints, different charges — two of them being tampering with evidence and one being aggravated robbery,” Ramsay said. “This case needed to be disposed of, she had been in jail for over two years. This was part of the agreement that we came to with her attorney and was based on evidentiary issues and what we felt was most appropriate.”
The agreement requires Mettlin to serve two prison sentences.
“We had her plea to two counts of third-degree tampering with evidence, where she received 10 years in the penitentiary and those are to run consecutive with each other,” the district attorney said. “She also pled to an aggravated robbery, where she is to receive 10 years deferred adjudication and that case is still pending because Judge (Eddie) Northcutt has reset sentencing in that case until she has served her prison time.”
Once she completes her prison time, she must report to the court within 72 hours, a condition of the plea agreement.
“If she ignores that, the plea agreement would not be there. It's totally conditioned on her appearing,” Ramsay said. “She would be in more trouble if she didn't show up.”
If Mettlin fails to appear within that time frame after being released from prison, she will face going back to prison to serve anywhere between five years and life in prison.
“I believe this is a proper disposition to the case,” the district attorney added. “And is a good disposition to take care of this remaining defendant.”
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