Guilty plea in Athens factory owner's murder

6:30 PM, Feb 10, 2010   |    comments
Daniel Lankey
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The man accused of the murder of an Athens factory owner has changed his plea to guilty.

Daniel Lankey will now spend the next 40 years in prison, after pleading guilty to second degree murder.

District Attorney General Steve Bebb had previously offered Lankey a 40-year sentence, which he would have to serve 100 percent of, in exchange for a guilty plea in the death of Jeff Beene.

Beene called 911 late on the night of January 29, 2009, to tell dispatchers he had burglar at gunpoint at one of his two Plastic Industries factories. That factory was closed--Beene was salvaging metal from it, and he had occasionally been camping out there to keep thieves from breaking in to ransack it.

But when officers arrived, they couldn't immediately find Beene.

They found him a short while later, lying on the floor of the business. Beene, 58, died at Erlanger Medical Center.

The prosecution was about halfway through its case against suspect Daniel Lankey, when court broke for lunch.

When the defense returned from lunch, they asked prosecutors if a plea deal was still a possibility.

DAG Bebb asked victim Jeff Beene's family, and they agreed.

Lankey changed his plea to guilty of second degree murder. Based on his prior offenses, he was sentenced as a Range 2 offender. The seriousness of this crime means he will be required to serve 100 percent of his sentence.

As Lankey is 31, he'll be eligible for release at age 71.


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