Parole hearing for former Collierville attorney convicted of attempted murder sparks online petition

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COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Tens of thousands of people are unified against the release of a former Collierville attorney convicted of trying to kill his ex-wife three times.

Because of good behavior and work credits, Fred Wortman is scheduled for a parole hearing August 20th. That’s about five years ahead of the original parole date. Wortman accepted a plea deal in late 2015.

Since its launch Monday, nearly 30,000 people, from not only Collierville but around the world, signed a petition. Wortman’s ex-wife said the support is inspiring, as she prepares for her family’s latest legal fight.

“It’s still mind-boggling, you are one of a few that’s been through anything like this,” Staci Jones said.

Four years later, Jones is still scared.

“There’s a fear every night when I open my door to let my dogs out. I mean, I worry that somebody could still be hiding there,” Jones said.

Jones’ ex-husband is former Collierville attorney Fred Wortman. He was convicted in 2015 for trying to kill Jones three times while they were separated. Prosecutors said Wortman tried once with poisoned toothpaste and twice by attempting to hire a hit man, one of whom was an undercover TBI agent.

“What concerns me is in when I see people comment he’s still going to try or he’s not going to stop,” Jones said.

Her worries multiplied in recent days, when Jones learned Wortman would be up for parole next month, years ahead of schedule in his 2015 plea deal.

“It was shock, uh, unexpected,” Jones said.

But people have Jones’ back, in the form of an online petition, launched this week. Thousands signed in solidarity, demanding Wortman’s parole be denied.

“We’ve been shocked at the response to it,” Jones said.

As the signature list grows, Jones prepares for her next crusade, when she lays out her case to the parole board.

“If something does happen to me or my children, it’s on them that they made that choice to let him it out and be free,” Jones said.

At Wortman’s parole hearing next month, four people will speak for each side, whether to grant parole or deny parole.

By video, Jones and a mix of law enforcement and prosecutors will explain why they believe Wortman should stay behind bars.

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