Woman takes plea deal in NC hatchet death

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Crystal Diane Worley, 39, of Selma.

SMITHFIELD, N.C. — A Selma woman was sentenced to at least six years in prison for the hatchet death of an elderly man she did housework for.

Crystal Diane Worley, 39, submitted an Alford plea Thursday to voluntary manslaughter, saying she didn’t admit to killing 80-year-old James Cooper in June 2010, but she agreed there was enough evidence for prosecutors to prove the charge.

Investigators originally charged Worley with first-degree murder, saying she killed Cooper with a hatchet and stole $526 and a ring from his home.

Prosecutors say they accepted the deal because two witnesses who were drug dealers weren’t cooperating and other evidence couldn’t be introduced at trial.

Worley was sentenced to six to eight years in prison.

Credit: The Associated Press.

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