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Oklahoma judge denies request for shorter prison sentence in woman's murder

Leeann M. Piatt was 16 when Cindy S. Forrest, 43, was beaten and suffocated in 2007. Piatt was sent to prison for 35 years after failing a drug test in a juvenile facility.
by Tim Willert Published: September 10, 2012

A judge has denied a request to shorten the life sentence for a woman convicted of beating another woman to death, then dumping her body in a trash bin, saying she hasn't changed.

Leeann Marie Piatt was 16 when Cindy S. Forrest, 43, was beaten to death Feb. 11, 2007, after Piatt and a co-defendant accused her of stealing money meant to bail Piatt's mother out of jail, authorities said.

Forrest's body was found in a trash bin in the 2900 block of Cashion Place. Prosecutors said the woman was beaten over several hours and found with a plastic bag over her head.

An Oklahoma County judge ruled Piatt and co-defendant Nicolette Sierra Nero — also 16 at the time of the slaying — should be tried as adults in the case, but the state Court of Criminal Appeals overruled that decision on Piatt.

She ended up in the juvenile system, while Nero was sentenced to 15 years in prison and 10 years probation in a plea deal with Oklahoma County prosecutors.

A third person involved in Forrest's death, Gary Wayne Ray, was sentenced in March 2008 to 35 years in prison after agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors. Ray, 21, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Failed drug test

Piatt spent two years in a juvenile facility and was nearing release when she failed a drug test and was sent to prison because that violated the terms of her treatment plan. Piatt has spent the past year in a county facility for women.

Wednesday, Piatt's attorney asked Associate District Judge Richard W. Kirby to take 20 years off her 35-year sentence, saying she has “excelled” as an inmate.

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by Tim Willert
Education Reporter
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers education. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in June 2011, he was as an editor for in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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