More than two and-a-half years after an elderly woman at Wright was killed in her home, the man accused of her death pleaded guilty to the crime.

More than two and-a-half years after an elderly woman at Wright was killed in her home, the man accused of her death pleaded guilty to the crime.

John Stennis Jackson, 48, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder in the Aug. 12, 2009, death of Norma Jean Sanders, 71, according to a sentencing order filed in the Jefferson County Circuit Clerk’s Office Thursday.

Circuit Judge Rob Wyatt Jr. sentenced Jackson to 30 years in prison, and told him he would receive 966 days jail time credit.

Jackson had originally been set for trial last year but Wyatt ruled that he was not “fit to proceed” to trial, based on rulings from Dr. William A. Cochran of Southeast Arkansas Behavioral Healthcare Systems on Jan. 21, 2010, and Dr. Raymond K. Molden of Forensic Psychiatric Consultants on May 14, 2010.

Wyatt sent Jackson to the Arkansas State Hospital and ordered the Department of Health Services report back “if within 10 months, the defendant regains his fitness to proceed” to trial.

The body of Sanders was found inside a house at 8101 Highway 256 at Wright after Jackson called 9-1-1 and told a dispatcher he “had killed his wife.” Sanders was pronounced dead at the scene of multiple blunt force trauma to the upper body.

During a probable cause hearing for Jackson on Aug. 14, 2009, then Chief Deputy Prosecutor S. Kyle Hunter said Jackson told sheriff’s deputies he hit Sanders in the head with a hammer after she told him she thought “he was drinking beer faster than he should.”

Sheriff’s investigator Todd Davis reported that Jackson waived his right to an attorney and said he hit Sanders in the head with a hammer, and “when she did not pass out, he hit her two more times before leaving and going to Pine Bluff where he spent the night.”

Jackson returned to Wright the following morning, found Sanders dead, and called 9-1-1.

Had Jackson gone to trial and been convicted of first-degree murder, he would have been sentenced to 10 to 40 years or life in prison.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Wayne Juneau and Deputy Prosecutor Nicole Pugh represented the state, and Jackson was represented by attorney Keith Hall from the Public Defender’s Office.