Man who killed while on parole sentenced to life in prison

Man who killed while on parole sentenced to life in prison

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(KSL News) The man who strangled a Murray woman to death will spend the rest of his life in jail without the possibility of parole.

James Tolbert pleaded guilty to aggravated murder today for the death of Ann Poulson, who was found dead at her Murray home in October.

In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop a first-degree felony charge of aggravate burglary.

Man who killed while on parole sentenced to life in prison

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A convicted killer accused of strangling a Deseret Morning News employee who became his friend while doing church work in prison pleaded guilty to aggravated murder Friday.

James William Tolbert, 42, agreed to the plea to avoid a possible death penalty. Tolbert was sentenced by 3rd District Judge Thomas Kay to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the Deseret Morning News and The Salt Lake Tribune reported on their Web sites.

Tolbert was on parole when Ann Poulson, 68, was strangled Oct. 9 at her Murray home.

Tolbert had previously spent 18 years in prison for choking his wife to death with a necklace on May 5, 1987. He was paroled in April 2006.

Poulson and her husband met Tolbert while volunteering at the prison as part of a church ministry. Poulson wrote letters to the parole board on Tolbert's behalf and kept up the friendship after he was released, inviting him to meals and family gatherings.

After Poulson's body was found at her home, police said they found Tolbert's wallet and DNA in her car, which had been discovered in a park a day earlier.

Authorities believed Tolbert had fled the state. But after a tip, officers found him in a maintenance shed in a downtown Salt Lake City park smoking a cigarette and watching television.

For Poulson's family, the plea and sentencing helps to bring closure to the murder.

"We are relieved we don't have to have this drug through the courts for an indefinite period of time," said Alan Collier, her son-in-law.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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