CAMERON — One of the people responsible for the Jan. 19, 2017, brutal murder of Emily Hacker in Rockdale was sentenced Thursday to 18 years in prison.
John Stewart of Somerville could have been sentenced to 20 years as part of a plea bargain for the lesser crime he agreed to — aggravated assault, Milam County District Attorney Bill Torrey said Friday. Stewart testified against two other people involved in Hacker’s death – Edward Brannon Barry and Candice Jones.
Stewart was sentenced after a presentence report and hearing before Judge John Youngblood.
Ashley Wesson-Zawadzke, also of Somerville, will be sentenced at 10 a.m. Monday, for the role she played in the death of the Rockdale mother of two sons. She had the same deal as Stewart, according to Torrey.
In August, Barry and Jones each received a 50-year sentence as part of a plea deal.
Barry and Jones were originally charged with capital murder but, in April, pleaded guilty to a murder charge instead. Their sentences were capped at 50 years.
Hacker, 34 when she was killed, was last seen Jan. 20. It took more than week to find her body in a shallow grave. A fire was set in the grave — about 45 miles away on private property near Lyons — to try to destroy evidence.
She was beaten in a room at 538 Coulter St. in Rockdale. Various hand tools and elbows were used, and duct tape secured her mouth and head. Her wrists were bound with a cord.
Hacker died Jan. 19, 2017, from blunt force trauma, according to the autopsy report.
Terri Wilson, Hacker’s mother, said on Facebook that Stewart was the one who held her daughter down, tied her up and burned her body.
When his time served is added into the equation, Stewart will be eligible for — not entitled to — parole in nine years, Torrey said.