Sunday, July 4, 2010

Georgia: Woman on death row released after 36 years

MACON, Ga. -- A woman who was at one time the only female on Georgia's death row has been paroled after serving 36 years in prison for killing her ex-husband and his new wife.

State Board of Pardons and Paroles spokesman Steven Hayes says Rebecca Machetti was released Wednesday with $25, bus fare and clothing. Machetti, 71, was initially sentenced to death for the 1974 slayings but her sentence was changed to two life terms in prison in 1983.

Prosecutors said the case was prompted by a bid to collect insurance benefits. The parole board considered Machetti's release 11 times before granting her parole in June 2009. Machetti will be subject to electronic monitoring and must report to a parole officer monthly. She is not allowed to have contact with her victims' family members.

Machetti was convicted, along with her husband, John Eldon Smith and John Maree of Florida of murder in the deaths of newlyweds Ronald and Juanita Akins in 1975.

The Akinses were found shot to death in a secluded area of Bibb County. Authorities said she wanted her ex-husband killed for a $20,000 life insurance policy.

She was granted a new trial in 1982 and the new jury recommended mercy.

Hayes said he could not release information about where Machetti is now living, but said she is assigned to a Dublin parole office.

Source: The Associated Press, July 3, 2010