published Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Wallace Stokes sentenced to 25 years in meth conspiracy

Wallace Stokes Jr., left, testifies under questioning by defense attorney John Eldridge during Jessica Kennedy's 2012 trial for the murder of Jim Miller in Monroe County Criminal Court.
Wallace Stokes Jr., left, testifies under questioning by defense attorney John Eldridge during Jessica Kennedy's 2012 trial for the murder of Jim Miller in Monroe County Criminal Court.
Photo by The Knoxville News Sentinel /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A man named as a suspect in the 2010 slaying of a Monroe County, Tenn., official was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison today as ringleader of a methamphetamine conspiracy.

Wallace “Boonie” Stokes Jr. pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine at a house he owned in rural Monroe County, Tenn., between 2009 and 2012. He had been charged in a seven-count indictment with 11 other people on meth-related counts.

Wearing orange or brown jail jumpsuits and manacles, Stokes and seven co-defendants lined up in front of U.S. District Judge Curtis Collier for sentencing.

Stokes' term of 300 months was nearly twice the next toughest term, 160 months given to Hank Sherwood. The remaining sentences ranged from 67 months to 160 months in federal prison, plus probation.

Stokes was named in open court last year as a participant in the July 2010 robbery-slaying of Monroe County Election Commission Chairman Jim Miller, whose body was found in his burning car.

The accusation came from Jessica Kennedy, who was on trial for felony murder, aggravated robbery, abuse of a corpse and arson in the death.

Kennedy gave investigators more than a dozen accounts accounts of the crime. In at least one version, she said her former boyfriend, Brandon Steele, and Stokes robbed and shot Miller.

Stokes took the stand in that trial and denied any involvement.

Steele also was a defendant in the methamphetamine conspiracy case and had pleaded guilty earlier.

See Friday's Times Free Press for complete coverage.

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