published Friday, March 8th, 2013

Woman pleads guilty to 2 Bledsoe County murders

  • photo
    At left, Brenda K. Brown is escorted from the Rhea County Courthouse in Daton, Tenn., on Thursday after entering a guilty plea to two counts of first-degree murder and being ordered to serve two life sentences in the August 2011 slayings of Bledsoe County sisters Elizabeth Brown and Billy Sue Blalock.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The woman charged in the 2011 slayings of two elderly Bledsoe County, Tenn., sisters on Thursday pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and was ordered to serve two life sentences without parole, authorities said.

The plea stems from the Aug. 16, 2011, slayings of Elizabeth Brown, 82, and her sister, Billy Sue Blaylock, 79, who were found shot to death on their property on Mills Dam Road.

The shooter, Brenda K. Brown, "will never become eligible for parole and will spend the rest of her life in prison," 12th Judicial District Attorney Mike Taylor said Thursday.

Elizabeth Brown was Brenda Brown's mother-in-law.

Brown, 48, agreed to a venue change so the hearing could take place in Dayton, Tenn., Taylor said. She was brought to Rhea County Circuit Court from the Tennessee Prison for Women in Nashville, where she was being held on a probation revocation from a 2010 conviction.

Taylor said the life sentences will run concurrently.

Bledsoe County Sheriff's Office Investigator Ricky Seals said Brown was tearful when discussing her plea with court officials and left the courthouse crying about noon Thursday.

Seals said relatives of the sisters were "relieved" by news of the plea.

Taylor said the family members he spoke with were satisfied with Brown's sentence.

When the sisters were killed in 2011, Brown was on probation for a 2010 conviction on charges of aggravated burglary, theft over $10,000 and vandalism over $500, court records show.

She pleaded guilty in August 2010 to all counts, earning a sentence of four years and 10 days, records show. Brown was ordered to serve all but 10 days of the sentence on probation, but her probation was revoked in 2011.

Thursday's life sentences will supersede all others, officials said.

Brown will be returned to the prison in Nashville to serve the murder sentence, officials said.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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