STANFORD — A Danville woman who was indicted for conspiring to kill the octogenarian mother of her former lover was sentenced to eight years in prison Friday for a burglary charge.
Jessica Callahan, 27, pleaded guilty Dec. 14 to one count of second-degree complicity to burglary.
At Callahan’s formal sentencing Friday, her lawyer, Justin Genco, told Circuit Judge David A. Tapp he would not be seeking probation immediately because Callahan has at least one other felony charge pending against her in Boyle County.
Tapp pointed out prior convictions for Callahan include multiple fourth-degree assaults, terroristic threatening and wanton endangerment.
“If you were eligible — and I believe you are — for probation, I would not grant probation,” Tapp said, while a sign language interpreter signed for Callahan, who is deaf. “That is a substantial history of assaultive behavior.”
According to initial reports from investigators, Callahan allegedly plotted with three other deaf women — Autumn Drass, 23, Taquisa Horton, 27, and Kerry Zamara, 23, all of Columbus, Ohio — to break into Goode’s home and kill her.
After a neighbor of Goode became suspicious and alerted Hustonville Police Chief Fred McCoy that something may be happening at Goode’s house on July 3, McCoy said he encountered Drass and Horton armed with knives inside the residence.
After a scuffle, McCoy was able to place Drass and Horton under arrest.
Minnie Goode was not home during the break-in.
All four women were charged with attempted murder. Drass and Horton were also charged with first-degree burglary, and Zamara and Callahan were charged with complicity in the burglary.
During his investigation, Lincoln County Sheriff Curt Folger said evidence suggested the alleged murder plot was motivated by revenge against Debra Goode, the daughter of Minnie Goode and a former lover of Callahan’s who was helping a current lover of Callahan’s escape an abusive relationship.
Genco asked Judge Tapp on Friday to “strike any reference to the plot to commit murder” from the case’s record, but Tapp declined, explaining that settling any facts of the case would have been necessary at trial, but not after a plea bargain.
But Tapp noted facts concerning the prior murder conspiracy charge would not be considered in the sentencing of Callahan for the lesser burglary charge.
Genco was hesitant after the sentencing to comment on how he was able to get Callahan’s charges reduced so drastically.
“I don’t want to say anything that gets misconstrued. To me, it really wasn’t that shocking,” he said. “If you look on the statute on what burglary is, burglary means you unlawfully enter with intent to commit a crime and that’s what she did.”
Genco said he cannot speak for the prosecution’s reasoning on granting Callahan’s plea bargain.
“As far as that goes, there’s no doubt that the individuals entered the house, and I think that’s what it came down to,” he said. “It’s much more difficult to try to ascertain what’s in people’s minds.”
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Carol Hill said in January that it is her office’s policy not to comment on ongoing cases. She said she did not want to comment on the record until all four women’s cases are fully resolved.
Genco seemed to suggest Friday afternoon that the allegations of a murder plot are coming from the other three defendants.
“If you watch the plea, she (Callahan) said what they were there to do,” he said. “Those other girls are the ones that are saying the other stuff, but I don’t represent them.”
Drass and Zamara last appeared in court in November, and there were no future court appearances scheduled as of Friday afternoon. Horton was scheduled for a hearing at 1 p.m. Friday, but that appearance was canceled.