The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

April 23, 2013

BREAKING: Murderer to go free after only 11 years in prison

ATHENS — An Athens man once sentenced to 23 years in prison for his part in a 2002 murder-for-hire will be freed after serving only half that time in prison.

Under a plea agreement reached by defense attorney Harlan Mitchell and Limestone County District Attorney Brian Jones, Anthony “Andy” Houston Dugger, 38, will soon be released after serving only 11 years in prison, according to Jones and jail records.

Dugger will remain on supervised probation in Limestone County for three more years, the district attorney said.

Dugger admitted conspiring with Melissa Jarrett of Athens and Chad Reece of Elkmont in the November 2002 murder of Melissa’s husband, Shane Jarrett.

Jones and Mitchell reached the agreement because of a due-process claim by the defense and because of the wishes of the victim’s father.

“After considering the wishes of the victim’s father, a plea agreement was entered where in Dugger withdrew his plea of mental disease or defect and pled guilty to murder,” Jones said. “He received a 20-year sentence and was given credit for the 11 years he has been incarcerated. The sentence was split and the remaining time will be served on supervised probation.”

Shane’s father, Waylon Jarrett Sr., swore in an affidavit to the court that he supported the plea agreement. That affidavit read, in part, “Chad Christopher Reece was the person who shot and killed my son. However, this was at the direction of my then daughter-in-law, Melissa Kay Freeman Jarrett. Anthony Houston Dugger was also charged and convicted of the murder of my son ... It was Dugger who, when confronted with the alleged conspiracy of the murder of my son, came to police and confessed as to each person’s involvement. Had it not been for Dugger, I would have never, ever learned of what truly happened to my son …”

Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson had this to say about Dugger’s early release:

“The Athens Police presented strong evidence that supported charging all three with capital murder,” Johnson said. “The three chose not to risk a capital murder conviction and pleaded guilty to murder. We were satisfied with two of the defendants getting life and one getting 23 years. It is our opinion that Dugger was as much a part of the murder plot as the two serving life sentences. I have a tough stance on violent crime and would have preferred he serve his full sentence.”

Text Only
Local News
Poll

Do you think Athens-Limestone County is better prepared than in April 2011 to provide shelter from a major tornado?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee