Woman sentenced for near-fatal beating - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Woman sentenced for near-fatal beating

November 11, 2004

Albany -- An Albany woman is sentenced to 13 years in prison for trying to kill a mentally challenged woman with a baseball bat to collect insurance money.

The man who sold the insurance policy plead guilty to fraud, but the Judge would not accept his plea.

Forty-year-old Stephanie Prather was left for dead near the Flint River April 29, 2001. Thursday morning Gloria Loud pleaded guilty to beating Prather with a baseball bat, in order to collect a $730,000 insurance policy.

Judge Stephen Goss said "She was brutally assaulted, and left for dead." Loud was given a 20 year sentence for aggravated assault, 13 to be served in prison.

Prather's father James Prather said "The love of money many people would do just about anything. And it has caused a lot of problems in my father, especially for Stephanie."

Four years ago Loud befriended Prather while working at Goodwill. Loud had Allstate Insurance Agent Joey Harris draw up the life insurance policy.

Harris plead guilty to Insurance Fraud in a plea agreement, saying he knew nothing about Loud's plan to kill Prather.

But in sentencing, his lawyer argued Harris made mistakes, but not criminal acts. Judge Stephen Goss said he would not accept his guilty plea in that case, and ordered Harris to stand trial, shocking Harris and the Prather family.

Kimberly Prather said "It won't be fully closed for me until after Mr. Harris' trial."

Joey Harris's trial is scheduled to begin Monday, but the District Attorney plans to ask for a delay because of pre-trial publicity.

Joey Harris could face five additional charges of forgery and conspiracy in his trial.

posted at 4:17 PM byjimw@walb.com

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