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A man who was convicted of murdering a woman 23 years ago in Stone County died of natural causes in a prison in Licking on June 6th.

Attorney Mark Rundel, who was the prosecuting attorney at the time of Stanley Hay's conviction said it was the last murder case he tried before leaving office in 1990.

Hays at first told investigators that Sherry Thomas shot herself inside a vehicle near the Reeds Spring Junction in the late 80's.  Rundel said Sheriff George Scobee at first bought the story and released the vehicle back to Hay.

Rundel said red flags went up for him immediately due to the victim's petite stature and the position the rifle would have had to be in if she had committed suicide. When the suicide theory was shot down Hay told investigators that the couple had been arguing over the gun when it went off.   He eventually told authorities that he killed Thomas', according to Rundel.

Thomas's young child was strapped into a car seat in the vehicle at the time of her murder.

He was sentenced to life (30 years) in prison on the murder charge and an additional 50 years in prison for armed criminal action.  Those sentences were ordered to be served consecutively (one after the other.)

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