Marked Tree Man To Be Freed Despite Guilty Plea in Murder Case

August 27, 2003 - Posted at 2:04 p.m. CDT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A 30-year-old Arkansas (Marked Tree) man will be set free after pleading guilty in a Memphis, Tennessee homicide for a second time.

Shannon Smith had been serving a life sentence in the 1991 killing of Terry Wilbanks of Columbus, Mississippi and the wounding of the victim's wife, Elizabeth Wilbanks.

But a special judge ruled in 1999 that Smith and co-defendant Keith Versie didn't have adequate legal representation.

Under the plea agreement Tuesday, Smith was sentenced to nine years, five months and 17 days in prison - time he has already served.

Versie is scheduled for a new trial March first and is free on $50,000 bond.

A third defendant, Michael Wofford, had pleaded guilty to lesser charges in 1992 and is now out on parole.  His case wasn't overturned.

All three men were from Marked Tree, Arkansas.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.