Williamson County Man Who Murdered Girlfriend in 2001 Resentenced to 33 Years

Williamson County Man Who Murdered Girlfriend in 2001 Resentenced to 33 Years

MARION – Williamson County State’s Attorney Marcy Cascio-Hale announced Friday that Michael Hearn was resentenced to 33 years in prison for the 2001 murder of 15-year-old Ashleigh Sprague.

Sprague’s mother, Traci Cottanaro, provided insights about her young daughter and shared with the court the devastation of losing her. 

Ashleigh loved to dance and sing… she was a loyal friend and a nurturer to all,” Cottanaro said.

Hearn and Sprague, then 16- and 17-years-old respectively, met on June 8, 2001, when he offered her and her friends a ride. Hearn dropped the two friends off, and that was the last time that Sprague was seen alive. Sprague was “missing” for 12 days, when Hearn admitted to his pastor that he had killed her and where the body could be found. 

At the original trial, Hearn’s testimony was challenged by the autopsy findings. One officer testified that it was the worst crime scene he had ever seen and that it was something that he would remember forever, as he had a little girl.

Hearn had to be resentenced due to a change in the law which requires special considerations and findings when sentencing juvenile offenders due to their age and immaturity. 

Hearn has already spent over 20 years in prison, and once this 33-year sentence is complete, he will have to serve a 5-year term for his attempted escape from the Williamson County Jail in 2002, and then a 3-year mandatory supervised release.

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