At the time, Covert was dating Heldreth´s estranged wife, Robin Heldreth
was arrested on the day when the crime was to have taken place after a joint investigation between the State Bureau of Investigation
and the Davidson County Sheriff´s
Office. Heldreth is also a former Davidson County sheriff´s deputy and a former Lexington police officer. Heldreth´s attorney, Lexington lawyer Jim Snyder, said Heldreth was glad the ordeal was over.
"Rick (Heldreth) was relieved to get behind him these events and now to move on with his life," Snyder said.
will be eligible for parole after serving the minimum sentence of four years.Frank said Heldreth
could have been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison had the judge found aggravating factors in the case, which he
Instead, the judge found that mitigating factors outweighed other considerations in Heldreth´s case, including Heldreth´s "good character" up to the time of the crime and his
positive employment history.
The judge also recommended that Heldreth
undergo an evaluation and receive treatment if needed.He
will receive credit for the six months he
has already served in the Davidson County jail while awaiting trial.
The exact timing of the plea was scheduled at the last minute after a time slot opened up Tuesday afternoon.Heldreth´s family was not able to attend. Heldreth
was arrested Aug. 7 after the inmate Heldreth had hired to do the killing told authorities about the plan.The inmate, whose name was never made public and who is not from Davidson County
, had just been released from prison on parole after serving a 10-year sentence for breaking and entering.
At the time of Heldreth´s arrest, the inmate told law enforcement officers that Heldreth
had developed a relationship with him over several months by giving him cigarettes, extra food and extra privileges. Heldreth worked as a correctional officer for the state prison from April 2000 until his arrest on Aug. 7.Before that, he was a deputy with the sheriff´s office twice, from 1978 through 1986, and again from 1987 through 1989.He
then worked for the Lexington police for three years during the mid-1990s.
The Heldreths had a history of heated domestic disputes.In February 2001, Heldreth
wife of breaking into his
home during a three-week separation and vandalizing his
property.The next day, she
charged him with assault on a female, and her
son charged him with simple assault.
Later that year Heldreth charged his
wife with assault with a deadly weapon, claiming she
had stabbed him in the shoulder with a steak knife, and she
again charged him with assault on a female.At the same time, the Heldreths filed domestic violence protection orders against each other.
All of those cases were eventually dismissed after the Heldreths agreed to mediation and mutually dropped the restraining orders.