Final suspect in murder of Raleigh mom enters plea

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Sarah Rene Redden appears in court for sentencing.

The last suspect in the 2013 murder of a Raleigh mother appeared in a Raleigh courtroom Monday and pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to first-degree murder.

Prosecutors say Sarah Rene Redden, 21, acted as a lookout while Ronald Anthony and Travion Smith stabbed and beat 30-year-old Melissa Huggins-Jones to death in her North Hills apartment in May 2013. Huggins-Jones' 8-year-old daughter found her body.

While Redden did not allegedly take part in killing Huggins-Jones, she was charged with murder for her role in the crime.

As part of a plea agreement, the murder charge was dismissed. Redden also pleaded guilty to two counts of breaking and entering.

Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway sentenced Redden to 54 to 77 months in prison on the accessory charge. He suspended sentence on the breaking and entering charges.

She will get credit for time served - after spending 3 years in the Wake County jail pending trial.

Redden will also have to serve two years of probation and pay court costs.

Investigators said Redden, Anthony, and Smith had been breaking into cars in the neighborhood when the two men climbed up to a second-floor balcony and got into Huggins-Jones' through a sliding door.

Last September, Anthony pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. The plea deal spared him the death penalty.

Last month, Smith was sentenced to life in prison after a Wake County jury voted against recommending the death penalty.

Redden testified against Smith at his trial.

At Smith's trial, prosecutors spoke of the brutality of the crime. In his closing, prosecutor Jason Waller said Smith deserved the death penalty for stabbing Huggins-Jones 18 times in her bed - even stabbing her in the face. He said it took her a while to die as she bled out.

"She went to bed with her daughter down the hall and these guys came in and did this! Why? For an iPhone," Waller said.

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