Supreme Court Upholds Murder Conviction of Craighead County Woman

NOVEMBER 30, 2006 - Posted at 11:06 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas Supreme Court has upheld the capital murder conviction of a woman accused of conspiring to kill a friend's husband and leave his body under a tarp in rural Craighead County.

Justices upheld the conviction of Judy Ann Flanagan, who was sentenced to life in prison without parole by the Craighead County Circuit Court in the 2004 death of 51-year-old Dennis Coats.

Prosecutors say Flanagan stabbed Dennis Coats to death after the two drove in his truck to a remote area of the St. Francis Sunken Lands Wildlife Management Area.  Prosecutors contended Flanagan lured Coats to the area with the promise of sex and then killed him so Coats' wife, Beverly Coats, could continue her relationship with Flanagan's brother, Dale Roach.

Beverly Coats pleaded guilty in 2005 to hindering apprehension and prosecution in her husband's death.  She was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Authorities found a cassette copy of the popular 1999 Dixie Chicks song "Goodbye Earl" among the suspect's belongings.  The song is about two women conspiring to murder Earl, poison him and wrap his body in a tarp.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)