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Third defendant's plea expected in Woolf murder

By By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
April 17, 2001
A third defendant in the murder trial of Mary Ann Woolf has been allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice.
Jefferson Long, 42, of 1823 36th Ave., was originally charged with capital murder in July 1999 in connection with Woolf's death. He was indicted by a grand jury a year later as an accessory to murder after the fact.
The obstruction of justice plea was proposed by the Lauderdale County district attorney last week. Long is expected to sign the plea arrangement today.
The penalty for obstruction of justice is usually a six-month suspended sentence and court costs, said Assistant District Attorney Lisa Howell.
Long is accused of falsely providing an alibi for John Barrett, who was convicted on Feb. 10 of murdering Woolf in June 1998. Barrett said in his testimony that he and Long were on a weekend fishing trip to Alabama the day Woolf's body was discovered in a shallow creek off Hookston Road in what appeared to be a bizarre car accident. An autopsy revealed Woolf had died of fresh water drowning the night before her body was discovered.
Prosecutors said Long and Barrett concocted the story prior to Woolf's murder. Barrett's sister, Mary Ann Adams, who was Woolf's best friend and co-worker, was also convicted of murder in Woolf's death in order to collect on a life insurance police which carried a double indemnity for accidental death.
Adams and Barrett have since filed appeals to the Mississippi Supreme Court.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at mtodd@themeridianstar.com.