Local News

Man pleads guilty to 2006 stabbing of Moore County woman

Posted May 13, 2009

— A Moore County man pleaded guilty Tuesday to the 2006 stabbing of an 80-year-old woman.

Johnny Cletas Maness, 53, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Ruthie Morgan. A conviction carried the possibility of a death sentence.

According to the Moore County District Attorney’s Office, Maness pleaded to second-degree murder and to charges of kidnapping and robbery with a dangerous weapon by a habitual felon.

Morgan was found dead on her farm Jan. 15, 2006. Her truck was found in South Carolina, and Maness was arrested three weeks later in Texas. Authorities believe he knew Morgan. Neighbors said he may have done odd jobs for her.

At the time of his arrest, Maness’s mother said he had a history of stealing cars. His criminal record showed a previous arrest for assault.

His guilty plea carries a sentence of 519 to 558 months in prison, or 43 to 46 ½ years.


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  • panthers254 May 14, 2009

    rebel, some folks are just plain evil. they dont really need a reason to kill or maim, they just do it. it's their nature. in 19 years of working with inmates, i have learned that some folks just cant be rehabilitated. they have no desire to live a normal life. it's very sad, but it's true.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT May 14, 2009

    Ole' Cletas will spend the rest of his physically fit life in prison.

  • oldrebel May 13, 2009

    I would rather this gone to trial so the motivation for this senseless murder would have been uncovered. But a guilty plea makes it easier for the prosecution to put this killer behind bars, but we'll not know why this happened.