Collierville mother fights to keep ex-husband in prison

Updated: Jul. 10, 2019 at 5:05 PM CDT
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COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. (WMC) - A Collierville mother is fighting to keep her ex-husband in prison.

Fred Wortman III is now serving a 30-year sentence for attempting to kill his ex-wife three separate times.

In 2015, Wortman accepted a plea deal of 30 for the crimes. As part of the deal, he was to serve at least 30 percent of the time. His sentence at the Morgan County Correctional Complex began June 5, 2015.

Wortman was supposed to serve at least nine years for the attempted murders of his ex-wife, Staci Jones. He poisoned her toothpaste and then tried twice to hire a hit man.

“I think we’ve healed a lot. We are moving forward, my family and I, but there it still lingers that he could be out one day and he could be out fighting for my kids and making life fearful for us,” said Staci Jones.

From across the state, Jones and her family monitored Wortman through the Tennessee Department of Corrections felony offender database.

“You can watch the sentence,” said Jones. “And slowly, and I mean every month, the time has slowly been reduced.”

Then, a letter came in April. A notice from the Tennessee Department of Correction about an up coming investigation into Wortman’s parole eligibility.

“We know just from the past four years and the courts that we’ve dealt with that there’s not been a change in his heart,” she said.

A parole date is now set for August 20, more than four years after his sentence started.

“I am asked that a lot. ‘What are you going to do?’ I don’t know. I am told, ‘you need to move away. You need to change your name,’ but that’s not life. That’s not a life I want to live,” she said.

So now, she fights.

Since Monday a petition to deny the parole hearing has gained more than 25,000 signatures.

“We will be there in full force,” said Jones.

Come August, Jones says she will be there to testify against her ex-husband to ensure he stays in prison and to ensure her family is safe.

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