The Union Recorder

October 8, 2012

Murder plea upheld for local woman

From staff reports
The Union-Recorder


A woman sentenced in the 2011 murder of Mandle Charlie “M.C.” Waters Sr. will serve life in prison after her motion for a reduced sentence was denied on Friday. 

Ashleigh Ricks’ guilty plea was upheld by Superior Court Judge Hulane George. Ricks had filed a motion for a reduced sentence. She was sentenced in the October 2011 murder of her stepfather. 

Andre Brown was set to stand trial last May for the murder along with his girlfriend, Ricks. The evidence points out Brown as the shooter.

Brown pleaded guilty April 26 to felony murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. 

Ricks pleaded to the felony murder count eight days later. Court proceedings indicate the female co-defendant, Ricks, stole the pistol belonging to Waters, used it in his murder and orchestrated the entire criminal act.

Brown and Ricks were indicted on murder and armed robbery charges after Waters’ murder where he was found slumped over the wheel of his car at a remote Hardwick intersection.

According to investigators, Waters was shot twice from the back seat through the front seat. Waters also had money stolen from him during the fatal shooting.

Ricks and Brown were apprehended in Macon after a spending spree the following week.

Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Fred Bright said he wants cases to have finality, and there is no reason to withdraw the one hour guilty plea.

Ricks’ trial lawyer, Tom O'Donnell, was the lone witness in the appeal hearing. He had the case for four months.

During questioning from Bradley, O'Donnell stated Ricks’ guilty plea surprised him because he was prepared for trial.

Ricks struggled to understand her actions could be connected to the murder without her pulling the trigger, according to O'Donnell. He said he believed all the steps for appropriate council were followed.

When given a short recess to collect her thoughts, Ricks had no statements for the court.

In closing, Bradley said the original plea was constitutional, and Ricks had no right to have it changed or withdrawn.

George denied the reduction and charge of sentence, as well as the motion to appeal guilty plea. Ricks will become eligible for parole in 2042.

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