“There were some legal issues regarding the life sentence,” Paschall said. “We felt like Mr. Pearce would have to be present.”
Quisenberry granted the motion for a new punishment phase and, during a hearing Tuesday morning, approved a new plea agreement between Pearce and the district attorney’s office, assessing Pearce’s punishment at 23 years.
“I’m satisfied with it and so is Geral, or he would not have agreed to it,” Paschall said, noting that Pearce was given an additional five years for the three days he did not appear.
“I think if he could do things over again, he’d do it differently,” Paschall said.
• 48-year-old Melinda Nell Pearce, who was sentenced to five years probation in May.
• 44-year-old Shannon Lewis Burns received a 20-year sentence in April
• 47-year-old Sheila Jane Smith was sentenced to five years in prison in May.
• 40-year-old Peggy Colleen O’Kelley, whose case remains pending.
• 50-year-old James Michael Wiley, whose case remains pending.