Man Pleads Guilty To Voluntary Manslaughter In Wife's Death
HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. – A man set to go on trial this week for his wife's murder more than a decade ago in Sumner County has pleaded guilty.
Sumner County District Attorney General Ray Whitley said Tyrone Tackett agreed to a plea deal on Friday afternoon, and went before a judge Monday morning to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to five years in prison, with credit for time served. When he is released, he will have to serve two years of probation.
Tackett, who had been in custody since July 2011, was set to go on trial Monday for first degree murder, beginning with jury selection.
Whitley told NewsChannel 5 that "this is the only way [for Tackett] to be held accountable" for Salena's death. He added that prosecutors had a lot of circumstantial evidence, but had no hard evidence of Salena's death.
Extensive searching never led to Salena's body, and Whitley said there will not be another search following Tackett's plea. Tackett never told investigators where her body was buried, and Whitley said he most likely would not have given up that information even if he had been convicted by a jury.
Salena had been married to Tyrone just one week when she disappeared on January 30, 2003. Tyrone reported her missing, claiming she just walked away from their Hendersonville home, leaving the couple's then two-year-old daughter and her purse behind.
NewsChannel 5 was told the couple had a very turbulent relationship, and even fought the morning Salena disappeared.
The case went cold and Tackett moved to Florida.
In January 2011, Hendersonville's new police chief reopened the case and the investigation led to Tackett's arrest on charges of solicitation to commit murder, amid allegations he hired someone to have his wife killed.
A Sumner County grand jury indicted Tackett on first degree murder charges in December 2011. Officials in Sumner County said then that evidence against Tackett led a jury to believe that Salena was deceased although her body has never been found.
- Dec. 13, 2011: Husband Indicted In 2003 Cold Case
- July 15, 2011: Man Arrested For Plan To Kill Wife Back In Tennessee
- July 14, 2011: Tenn. Man Arrested In Florida For Plan To Have Wife Killed
- Feb. 23, 2011: Investigators Search In Houston Co. In Missing Mother Case
- Jan. 28, 2011: Hendersonville Re-Opens Missing Mother Cold Case