Fentress sentenced to 110 years for 2016 murder of Palmyra man PDF Print E-mail
Written by George Browning   
Wednesday, 15 March 2017 06:26

After being convicted by a jury on Thursday, December 1, 2016 in Harrison Superior Court of murder, attempted murder and being a habitual felon, Travis Fentress learned his sentence last week.

Fentress was sentenced by Harrison Superior Court Judge Joseph L. Claypool to 55 years for murder, 45 for the attempted murder conviction and 10 for the habitual felon.

Defense Attorney Jennifer Harmeyer asked the court for a sentence of 45, 20 and 6, but Harrison County Prosecutor Otto Schalk asked for 63, 37 and 20.

Claypool split the difference.

Harmeyer called character witnesses to testify for Fentress, with the common theme being that he can be a productive member of society as long as he’s not on drugs.

Fentress also gave a brief statement.

He said he didn’t expect anyone to forgive him, since he couldn’t forgive himself. Fentress also apologized to the families.

“The pain of all of this needs to end today,” he said.

Schalk pointed out that Fentress had several felony convictions already on his record and agreed about the type of person Fentress is when he is off drugs.

“. . . He can be a positive influence on his fellow inmates,” he said in response to the testimony of the character witnesses. “This was a completely avoidable tragedy were it not for the actions of Travis Fentress.”

The shooting took place on January 13, 2016.

The victims were Ralph Thomas, 42, who later died, and his wife Rebecca Thomas, 25. They had been married barely a week at the time of the shooting.

Police began looking immediately for a man and woman, Tara Van Winkle and Fentress.

The Harrison County Sheriff’s Department contacted the Madison Police Department on Jan. 14 to request assistance with locating Van Winkle and Fentress.

The request was based off information the HC sheriff’s department received concerning their whereabouts.

Madison police began surveillance on the location and discovered the suspects were in a vehicle in the area and eventually parked in the Walmart parking lot.

Police pinned the vehicle in and Vanwinkle was arrested immediately. Fentress fled the area on foot. Police followed and used a taser to subdue him and place him into custody.

Van Winkle took a plea agreement.