Tackett was scheduled to go to trial June 20.
Tackett, 49, of Printer, was originally charged with murder, first-degree rape and first-degree unlawful imprisonment. As part of the agreement, the charges of rape and unlawful imprisonment were dismissed. While the rape charge is an aggravator that, along with murder, could have made it a death penalty case, Tackett’s IQ tested lower than 70 on multiple occasions before the murder, and Kentucky law does not allow a person with an IQ under 70 to be executed.
According to Commonwealth’s Attorney Brent Turner, Tackett was an acquaintance of Margaret Hall’s sister. Hall, 56, of Tram, was picked up by Tackett and another man and driven to Tackett’s home. The man then reportedly left. Phone records show that Hall called her sister from Tackett’s home the next day.
“She never came home,” Turner said. “Several days went by and her sister found Tackett’s phone number and called him to ask where she was. He told her that she had left on Saturday night with the other man. She knew that wasn’t true because Margaret had called her from the house on Sunday.”
Hall’s sister filed a missing person report on March 30. On April 1, ATV riders discovered Hall’s body near a strip mine in Honaker. Tackett’s DNA was found on the body.
“She had been strangled with a rope or wire,” Turner said. “Her hands were tied behind her back with a red bandana. She wasn’t wearing shoes or socks. The leaves around her body were disturbed, so I believe she was alive and struggling at the scene.”
Less than a year after the indictment, the investigating officer in the case, KSP Det. Joey Howard, died unexpectedly. Last year, the man who was with Tackett when he picked up Hall, and who was considered an important witness in the case, also died. The two deaths caused the case to slow down. as Tackett appeared not to be interested in entering a plea. Hall’s sister also died recently. With the upcoming sentencing scheduled to be the end of the case, Turner said the victim’s family is ready for closure.
“It’s been a long process for them,” Turner said. “Everybody is happy there’s been some justice in the case and he’s going away.”
Tony Ray Tackett is scheduled to be sentenced in Floyd Circuit Court at 1 p.m. on July 14.