CLARIFICATION: This story was updated at 6:26 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, to clarify that Glenna Yvonne Newingham Wood pleaded guilty on Feb. 28, 2019, and that she was 44 when she was arrested in 2018.
The wife of a Franklin County, Tennessee, veteran whose body was found buried under a slab of concrete in his own backyard pleaded guilty Feb. 28 in his 2017 slaying.
Glenna Yvonne Newingham Wood, who was 44 when arrested in February 2018, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the 2017 slaying of 50-year-old Franklin County veteran James Leon Wood and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. The sentence was handed down by Circuit Criminal Court Judge Thomas W. Graham.
Five others, including her two adult children, also are charged in the case.
A life sentence means Wood will have to spend at least 51 years in prison before she can become eligible for parole, said 12th Judicial District Attorney General Mike Taylor. Wood, who entered the plea last Thursday, would be at least 95 years old before she could seek release.
"As part of her agreement, she signed a memorandum of understanding that she would cooperate and give her truthful testimony, if needed, in the trials of any of the codefendants," Taylor said. "I'm very well satisfied with the plea."
Assistant District Attorney Steve Blount, who handled the case and plea in Winchester, said Wood stipulated to case facts in her guilty plea.
She said that "she, along with her codefendants, planned this man's death, that two of her codefendants carried out the killing," Blount said. "He was bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat, and she was involved in the planning of that and the disposal of the body, and in the covering up of the crime afterward."
Also accused in the slaying are Glenna Wood's daughter, Mikayla Danielle Harmon Poole, Grant Matthew Poole and Shawn Michael Hampton. All are charged with first-degree murder, two counts of conspiracy to commit murder and abuse of a corpse, records show.
Kisha Evelyn Anderson and Glenna Wood's son, Joseph Scott Newingham, are charged as accessories after the fact. Taylor said the accessory charges can't be addressed until the principal defendants, those charged with murder, plead guilty or are convicted. Anderson and Newingham since have been freed on bond, while the other three are still held on bond.
According to Tennessee property records, Glenna Wood and James Wood are listed as owners of the home on Spring Hill Drive in Winchester where James Wood's body was found buried under a 5-by-8-foot concrete slab that had been poured over the shallow grave.
His body, wrapped in a sheet or blanket, was found the night of Jan. 24, 2018, when Winchester police served a search warrant at Wood's Spring Hill Drive home as part of a missing person investigation. The investigation was launched after Wood's mother filed a report when she hadn't heard from him or been able to reach him since July 29, 2017, Winchester police Chief Richard Lewis said at the time. Initially, the human remains found at the home had not been identified, though police suspected the identity. Wood was positively identified a few days later. An autopsy showed he died of blunt-force trauma to the head, authorities said.
In the days after the slaying, James Wood's mother, Bertha Allen, who lives in New Mexico and couldn't afford to attend her son's funeral, expressed worry in 2018 that there would be no one at his service.
Wood, a veteran of the U.S. Army National Guard in Bakersfield, California, who served two military tours, received full military honors at his graveside service in Winchester. After word got out about the veteran's mother's fears, more than 300 people and local veterans, including a busload of Vietnam veterans from Chattanooga, attended the service.
At the time of his funeral in 2018, David Michael, who lives in Tullahoma, described Wood as "a good friend and fishing buddy." Michael said his friend "was a gentle soul."
Contact staff writer Ben Benton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.