Last June, our cover story My Father's Bones told the sprawling, stranger-than-fiction tale of a son searching for a father who had been killed by the husband of his mother, urged on by her father. Yeah, it's complicated. The victim was David Jackson, whose bones were found buried near the site of the Miramar Walmart. In 2007, the courts convicted Michael Wolfe of murdering Jackson.
But the whole time, detectives and the victim's family wanted punishment for Barbara Britton, Jackson's ex-wife and the mother of his child. They said she helped Wolfe, her new husband, lure Jackson to the scene of the crime. Prosecutors charged her in December 2007 with first-degree murder -- despite the fact that they didn't claim she fired the gun that killed Jackson. That's the way things were sitting when we published the story -- Britton sitting in Pembroke Pines on house arrest, facing possible life in prison.
Tomorrow, that's going to change: Britton is set to accept a plea deal in exchange for a drastically reduced charge. She'll plead guilty to being an accessory to Jackson's murder by Wolfe and face two years of location monitoring and eight years of probation.
At the end of our story, we spoke to Britton's private attorney, Keith Seltzer. He pointed out that the star evidence against Britton was a statement given by Wolfe, days after he was convicted of first-degree murder, implicating her in the crime.
Wolfe said that not only did Britton call Jackson under the pretense of getting back together so she could lure him to the motel room where he would be killed but that she sat next to him on the motel bed and zapped him with a Taser, to stun him before Wolfe emerged drunk from the bathroom with a gun pointed at Jackson's head.
"This case is based entirely on Michael Wolfe trying to get his life sentence shortened," Seltzer said last summer. "I believe Barbara had nothing to do with this... There's no confession [from her] anywhere... There are no records from the motel room, not one single bit [of evidence] that implicates Barbara."
Today, Seltzer says, that view of the situation has been validated. "The prosecutors fully evaluated all the evidence and the lack of evidence," he says.
In addition to the detailed accusations from Wolfe -- which we summarized in the feature story -- two of Wolfe's other ex-wives also said that he told them about the murder and mentioned Britton's role in it. His former cellmate, meanwhile, told prosecutors that he heard Wolfe say he had told the story to frame Britton. If the case had gone to trial, Seltzer says, he would have put that cellmate on the stand.
"I think we could have won a trial, but it was too good a deal to pass up," says Seltzer. He and Britton are slated to accept the deal tomorrow at 1:30 in Broward County Court. If Britton is deemed an accessory to a first-degree murder, that will be a second-degree felony charge.
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