POPLARVILLE, MS (WDAM) - A Lamar County man will spend the next two decades in prison for his role in his wife's 2008 murder. Joseph Ronald Hartfield, 35, was given the maximum sentence of 20 years Friday morning by Judge Anthony Mozingo for his conviction on conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the death of his wife, Tabitha Hartfield.
He was tried last month in Natchez on murder and conspiracy charges, but was aquitted of her murder.
Ethan Dakota Dixon, who pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy in the case, testified at the trial that Hartfield was the killer. Dixon had taken a lie detector test, which backed up his story and prosecutors offered him a plea deal for his testimony.
"We went ahead and had him take a lie detector, a polygraph and he showed no deception," said Hal Kittrell, district attorney for the 15th Judicial District. "And so, to us, based on what we knew about the case, knew what we had on evidence, what we had with the witnesses statements and what he was telling us, coupled with his no deception on the polygraph, we decided at that point to go back and re-present to the grand jury where Ronald Hartfield was indicted. That's the reason this case took the length of time that it did," Kittrell said.
In March, a third person, Natasha Graham, was sentenced to life in prison for murder and 20 years for conspiracy in connection with Hartfield's death.