Hatchet Murderer Tibbets To Be Released

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Mon, April 22 2013 at 4:39 PM, Updated: Mon, April 22 2013 at 4:50 PM

A Klamath County woman convicted in connection with the brutal hatchet murder of her mother and brother will soon be released from prison...despite strong opposition from her family.

30 year old Jessica Tibbets was in court 3 weeks ago to plead for her release at a 'second look' hearing...

"I owe it to my family to be the best person that I can be."  Plead Tibbets.  "Because my mom and my brother are dead, and they don't have that opportunity - the least I can be is the best that I can be every day now."

Tibbets was just 14 in 1998 when she urged 23 year old boyfriend Raymond Eddings to take a hatchet to her 43 year old mother Bennie Jo Tibbets and 16 year old brother Billy Ray Tower, and then set their house on fire.

Eddings is now serving a life sentence.

But Judge Roxanne Osborne has ruled that Tibbets has spent enough time behind bars...

"The judge ruled that she met the 'second look."  Explains Klamath County District Attorney Rob Patridge.  "And in the next 45 to 90 days, she's going to get released."

Betty Sabatini, the twin sister of Bennie Jo Tibbets, says she's devastated by the ruling...

"Well, it just devastated me, because it seemed as though the judge didn't even hear anything that I said.  And now I have to spend the rest of my life looking over my shoulder because of what she did."

District Attorney Patridge notes that Tibbets won't be released without supervision...

"There's a whole condition of her release, as well as how she'll be monitored, etc. - and she won't be released, we hope, into Klamath County."

Betty Sabatini says the family plans to appeal the decision.

Jessica Tibbets is currently married to Zane Skeen of Klamath Falls.  Zane Skeen is currently awaiting trial on murder charges for allegedly killing 65 year old Larry Wayne Clark in February.

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About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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