Defendant pleads guilty to obstruction of justice in death of Mary Ann Woolf
By By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
May 17, 2001
A defendant charged in connection with the death of Mary Ann Woolf has entered into a plea agreement with the Lauderdale County District Attorney's office.
Jefferson Long, 42, was originally charged with capital murder in July 1999 in connection with Woolf's death. He was indicted by a grand jury a year later as an accessory after the fact.
Long told The Meridian Star earlier he had no intention of accepting a misdemeanor plea agreement offered by the Lauderdale County District Attorney's office in late April. He has now accepted the offer and has pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice.
The court ordered Long to serve a six-month suspended sentence. Long is also ordered to pay an appearance bond fee of $1,000 and $165 in court costs.
According to Circuit Court records, Long had been free on $50,000 bond after posting $5,000 following his arrest. He was refunded $3,824 following the agreement.
District Attorney Bilbo Mitchell said in April the plea bargain was proposed because Long "didn't help hide the body and didn't take any active part in hiding any evidence."
Long is accused of lying to police by providing a false alibi for John Barrett, who was convicted on Feb. 10 of murdering Woolf in June 1998. Barrett said in his testimony that he and Long were on a weekend fishing trip to Alabama the day Woolf's body was discovered in a shallow creek off Hookston Road in what appeared to be a bizarre car accident. An autopsy revealed Woolf had died of fresh water drowning the night before her body was discovered.
Prosecutors said Long and Barrett concocted the story prior to Woolf's murder. Barrett's sister, Mary Ann Adams, who was Woolf's best friend and co-worker at University Medical Center in Jackson, was also convicted of murder in Woolf's death and is serving a life sentence along with her brother.
The pair have since filed appeals with the Mississippi State Supreme Court.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for the Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3236, or e-mail her at email@example.com.