SNOW HILL, Md.- Two accomplices in a Worcester County murder case are going to prison.
On Thursday morning, Circuit Court Judge Thomas Groton III sentenced 38-year-old Clarence Jackson to 30 years in prison and 32-year-old Tia Johnson to 7-and-a-half years behind bars for the roles they played in the murder of Christine Marie Sheddy.
The 26-year-old Milford, Del., mother of three disappeared from a Pocomoke City home in November 2007. Her skeletal remains were found in March 2010 buried behind a bed and breakfast in downtown Snow Hill.
Jackson and Johnson were charged as accessories after the fact in that they helped to move and conceal Sheddy's body.
Twenty-one-year-old Justin Michael Hadel of College Station, Texas, is serving life without parole for Sheddy's murder. Court records show Hadel killed Sheddy on or about Nov. 13, 2007, at a home at 2911 Byrd Road in Pocomoke City.
During Thursday's sentencing, Jackson told Sheddy's family, "I would like to apologize to the family. I did not kill her. I am deeply sorry from the bottom of my heart and I hope you forgive me."
In her statement to the court, Johnson apologized to Sheddy's mother, Lynn Dodenhoff, and the rest of Sheddy's surviving relatives.
"I am deeply sorry to Lynn and her family," Johnson said. "I am a mother as well and could not imagine the force of that pain. There is no happy ending in this case for anyone. I suffer in grief every day. I fully accept this responsibility. I also sincerely apologize to my family for the suffering and pain I have caused them."
Dodenhoff told the court about the impact Sheddy's death had on her family, including the three children her daughter left behind.
"I have three grandchildren who miss their mother," she said. "My oldest granddaughter asks me every day, 'Why did God do this to her?' I just cannot wrap my head around something like this. I am trying to get my daughter's children to live a normal life. Christine did not deserve to die the way she did."
Rick Lesser, the newest owner of the bed and breakfast behind where Sheddy's body was found, said that Thursday's decision is a much needed closure for the Snow Hill community.
"We all have to deal with tragedy at times. But I am glad to see that justice is being done," he said.
Other people said it is a tragedy that will never be forgotten, especially for a mother who will never get her daughter back.
"I can't imagine how she felt, I'm sure the whole family was devastated," said Tammy Velenovsky. "I know I have two children and I worry every day about them."
Ann Coates said she remembers the whole incident all too well, but is glad to know that those responsible for the tragedy are being held accountable.
"The community has to have some closure with something like this but the families are really the ones that have the most closure in anything like this," Coates said. "The victim's family is the really the central part of when a decision like this is made."
Both Jackson and Johnson are being held at the Worcester County Jail pending their transfer to the Department of Corrections.
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