Last updated: July 18. 2013 4:12PM - 358 Views
Jarrid Deaton

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PRESTONSBURG Tony Ray Tackett, indicted in January 2007 for the 2006 murder of Margaret Hall, pleaded guilty Monday to the slaying and is expected to be sentenced to 25 years in prison as part of the plea agreement.
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, Tacketts 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 Commonwealths Attorney Brent Turner, Tackett was an acquaintance of Margaret Halls sister. Hall, 56, of Tram, was picked up by Tackett and another man and driven to Tacketts home. The man then reportedly left. Phone records show that Hall called her sister from Tacketts home the next day.
She never came home, Turner said. Several days went by and her sister found Tacketts 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 wasnt true because Margaret had called her from the house on Sunday.
Halls sister filed a missing person report on March 30. On April 1, ATV riders discovered Halls body near a strip mine in Honaker. Tacketts 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 wasnt 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. Halls sister also died recently. With the upcoming sentencing scheduled to be the end of the case, Turner said the victims family is ready for closure.
Its been a long process for them, Turner said. Everybody is happy theres been some justice in the case and hes going away.
Tony Ray Tackett is scheduled to be sentenced in Floyd Circuit Court at 1 p.m. on July 14.
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