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Claxton woman pleads guilty in 2011 murder case

Tuesday in Anderson County Criminal Court, the second person accused in the death of an elderly Claxton man in late 2011 pleaded guilty to charges in that case.

47-year-old Tammy Sue Chapman was originally charged with first-degree murder in the death of 79-year-old Sammie Adams but, on Tuesday pleaded guilty to a charge of facilitation to commit first-degree murder and was sentenced to 22 years in prison. Her boyfriend, 52-year-old Norman Lee Follis Jr.–Adams’ nephew—was convicted of first degree murder last month and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Follis strangled Adams, hid his body under blankets in a closet underneath a stairwell in the man’s apartment on Patt Lane and blocked the closet door with a couch sometime in December of 2011. Chapman’s plea Tuesday was to assisting Follis in those efforts. Follis’s defense attorneys argued that Follis had killed Adams after seeing the man sexually assault Chapman, but the jury rejected that argument after hearing testimony that Follis had been seen driving his uncle’s car around in early January of 2012 after Adams had been reported missing and that Follis had actively misled investigators, friends and family members about Adams’ whereabouts.

The plot unraveled when Chapman, who was not allowed to be in Follis’s stepmother’s nearby house, was found inside that dwelling in early January after using Adams’ key to get inside. She told investigators she had broken in to get a piece of cake.

Ultimately, her apprehension led to both she and Follis admitting to their involvement in Adams’ death and the elderly man’s hidden body was found on January 24th, 2012.

Chapman also pleaded guilty to burglary in connection to the cake incident and was sentenced to six years behind bars and pleaded guilty to auto theft after the couple admitted selling Adams’ car for $1000. That plea netted a four-year sentence. All three sentences will be served concurrently and Chapman, who has been in custody since January 25th, 2012, will be given credit for time served. She will be required to serve at least 30 percent of her sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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