Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Unholy Homicide, Part 2


Judge Cynthia Kent
Judge Cynthia Kent

On September 29, 2003, in lieu of his trial scheduled to begin on October 16, an emotionless Reverend Michael Tabb stood before state District Judge Cynthia Kent and accepted the prosecution's plea bargain.  As a result of his guilty plea, Tabb was sentenced to 55 years in prison.

Following the brief hearing both sides made statements to the press.  "We've never had a case where a reverend or a pastor had committed murder," Matt Bingham, chief felony prosecutor for Smith County told Stars and Stripes Magazine. "We still don't know the motive."  Bingham also said that under Texas law, Tabb would not be eligible for parole for decades.  "He'll do 27½ years, day for day, before a parole officer ever hears from him."

In speaking with The Charlotte Observer, Tabb's lawyer, F.R. "Buck" Files said, "Some cases should be resolved without a trial and this was one of them....There was never a question whether Mike killed Marla.  It was only why.  I agree with his decision."  The minister's lawyer also told the Associated Press that Tabb accepted the plea in state district court to spare his family and his wife's family the pain of a trial.

He also wanted to ensure that his children would never hear the unpleasant details.  Unfortunately Reverend Tabb will never get his wish, for the story of his brutal crime has already been told.


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