|Judge accepts plea agreement in murder of Hickman mayor |
|Posted: Friday, March 29, 2013 9:03 pm |
Fulton County, Ky., Circuit Court Judge Tim Langford has formally accepted a plea agreement that will send confessed murderer Tommy Lattus to prison for 37 years and six months.
The proposed plea agreement was initially presented to Langford earlier this month.
In the agreement, approved by both sides in the case, the 31-year-old Lattus pleaded guilty but mentally ill to the Jan. 23, 2012, murder of then Hickman, Ky., Mayor Charles Murphy.
Murphy was found dead in his residence by Hickman police officer Phillip Burnett early that morning after Lattus went to the Hickman Police Department and confessed to killing Murphy.
A series of hearings has been held in the case over the past year, and Lattus has undergone two court-ordered psychiatric evaluations. Lattus had been scheduled to stand trial next month for the murder, but the plea agreement means Lattus will begin his murder sentence without a trial. Lattus will be eligible for parole after serving 85 percent of his sentence.
Langford officially accepted the plea agreement Thursday morning after a pre-sentencing investigation was conducted and a full report was submitted to the court.
Attorney Dennis Null of Mayfield, Ky., represented Lattus in the case. Commonwealth attorney Mike Stacy prosecuted the case.
Null told The Messenger today Lattus will be transferred to a state facility in LaGrange, Ky., where he will be processed. After being processed, Lattus will begin serving his sentence at a state prison.
Null described the Lattus case as “extremely complicated” and said, “This case speaks to the fact changes need to be made to mental health laws in Kentucky.”
“This was a real tragedy and the fact that it occurred in such a small community, it really magnified it,” he said.
Published in The Messenger 3.29.13