Suspect in murder-for-hire plot pleads guilty to lesser charge; likely to be released from jail Monday night
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Tyler Sherrod Clay, a Hewitt man at the center of a murder-for-hire scheme, on Monday pleaded guilty to a reduced charge in a plea agreement that will likely set him free.
In December 2018, a jury convicted Clay of hiring Keith Spratt to kill Joshua Ladale Pittman, but Waco’s 10th Court of Appeals reversed the conviction in May 2021 and awarded Clay a new trial.
Court documents obtained by KWTX reveal Clay has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of criminal solicitation, a second-degree felony, for his role in the murder of Pittman in December of 2015.
That charge was downgraded from criminal solicitation of capital murder.
Spratt was found not guilty capital murder in the alleged 2015 murder-for-hire scheme.
“In light of the jury’s acquittal of Mr. Spratt and also the death of at least one of the state’s material witnesses, it would have been difficult for the state to meet its burden of proving Mr. Clay guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” said prosecutor Kristi DeCluitt.
“The district attorney’s office believes that today’s plea bargain is in the interest of justice. First, Mr. Clay, for the first time, admitted he did solicit the murder of Mr. Pittman. Second, Mr. Clay is once again a convicted felon, and, third, Mr. Pittman’s family can finally have some closure in the wrongful death of their loved one,” DeCluitt further said.
“Every criminal case that settles is because of hard work and eventual compromise. This case is no exception. I commend the district attorney’s office in the professional manner they handed this case,” said Robert Stem Jr., one of Clay’s attorneys. “Tyler is thankful this case has concluded and looks forward to starting the next chapter in his life.”
Prosecutors recommended Clay spend four years and nine months in jail, the time he has been incarcerated.
The defense attorney and a prosecutor both said it is likely Clay could be released from the McLennan County Jail Monday night.
This is the fourth murder case in which the McLennan County District Attorney’s office has recommended a reduced charge in plea agreements in the past two weeks.
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