On the same day her boyfriend was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of her aging grandmother, Heather McGlothen admitted to her role in the plot.
McGlothen, 25, told Fayette Circuit Judge Ernesto Scorsone on Thursday that she and Dominique Lewis planned the attack on Marilyn Hegge because Hegge had planned to bail McGlothen's uncle out of jail, and McGlothen had accused the uncle of sexually assaulting her.
Hegge was found beaten to death in her blood-soaked bed on Nov. 30, 2008 — her 78th birthday — at her home on Red River Drive in Lexington. Lewis pleaded guilty last month to carrying out the attack. He was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Prosecutors also recommended a life sentence for McGlothen but with the possibility of parole after 20 years.
The hearing signaled a conclusion to the case, which has languished in the court system for more than three years while defense attorneys fought prosecutors' recommendations of the death penalty and sought to have evidence suppressed.
Never miss a local story.
McGlothen and Lewis both were charged with murder, burglary, tampering with physical evidence and fraudulent use of a credit card for using Hegge's card at Wal-Mart shortly after the killing. They were scheduled for consecutive trials beginning Aug. 2.
Carlos Enrique Hegge, Marilyn Hegge's son, was jailed in 2008 on a charge of first-degree sexual abuse after McGlothen told police he had fondled her while she slept. Three children were in the room at the time. The charge was dropped more than a year after Marilyn Hegge's killing.
McGlothen said she plotted to kill her grandmother after finding out that Carlos Hegge would be staying at her grandmother's house, where McGlothen had been living, while he was out of jail on bond. Her grandmother, with whom she had been fighting, had told McGlothen to move out, she said.
When Lewis pleaded guilty last month, he told Scorsone that he was the one who bludgeoned Marilyn Hegge and that McGlothen was not present during the slaying.
McGlothen's attorney, Edward Thompson, said after the hearing that a sentence of life with the possibility of parole was "a fair and just sentence" and a "suitable resolution" for McGlothen's role in plotting the attack.
As he was led out of the courtroom to begin serving his life sentence without parole, Lewis looked at a woman in the audience who was weeping and said, "I love you, Mama."
Stannie Payne said afterward that she had raised Lewis after Lewis' mother died when he was a week old.
Payne said Lewis had never been in trouble before he became addicted to drugs and got involved with McGlothen.
As she cried and watched her surrogate son being led away, Payne said she was hurting but was "thankful to the Lord he didn't get the death penalty."
Many of Hegge's friends and family were in the courtroom, but they said they didn't want to talk to reporters after the hearing.
McGlothen is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 11.