Roane County Residents React To Plea Deal

By: Stephen McLamb
By: Stephen McLamb

Kingston, Roane County (WVLT) -- We first told Wednesday night that Jennifer Hyatte had reached a plea deal.

The deal avoided the death penalty, but will keep her in prison for life without the possibility of parole.

Hyatte shot guard Wayne Cotton Morgan, outside of the Roane County Courthouse two years ago.

Those close to Morgan's family say they've also agreed to the deal.

But in Kingston, many residents though it was too lenient for what some called a "cold blooded killer".

Vennis Wilson was a close friend of Wayne "Cotton" Morgan and remembers the day he was killed outside the courthouse.

"It broke our hearts," Wilson said.

It's been just over two years since the deadly attack and time for justice has arrived.

George and Jennifer Hyatte were charged with Morgan's murder.

He had been transporting George from prison to the courthouse.

Jennifer allegedly pulled the trigger and will now serve the rest of her life behind bars.

Some in Roane County feel she should be getting the death penalty.

"What she did was thought out, planned out, and I just don't think she should get off," said Jaque Coleman.

"Giving her an opportunity to hang out for the rest of her life is a slap in the taxpayers face," said Lori Creekmore

"If you kill somebody, then it's the eye for an eye thing," said Brenda White. "I believe in that."

But the victim's cousin says Morgan was a Christian man who wouldn't have wanted her to die.

In fact he had reached out to George Hyatte the day he died.

"He talked to him all the way to the Roane County courthouse that morning about his soul," said Lillian Wilson, Morgan's cousin.

Her husband, Vennis Wilson isn't as forgiving.

"As far as I'm concerned they can put both of them in the electric chair or however they kill them," Wilson said.

But Vennis says Morgan's widow also agreed to the plea deal.

"She's cried about it," he said. "She's prayed about it and that was her decision."

Immediate family members said they were not ready to make a statement at this time.

Jennifer Hyatte is expected to make her plea in court on Monday.


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