Judge denies motion to set aside guilty plea

Published 2:14 pm Monday, September 28, 2015

A Chilton County judge denied a motion to set aside a plea of guilt for a Billingsley woman who pleaded guilty to a capital murder charge in April for the 2010 death of a Clanton woman.

Tanya Renee Vandyke, 44, filed a motion in August requesting Chilton County Circuit Judge Sibley Reynolds let her take back her guilty plea made in April.

“I was in your court April 20 on a capital murder charge,” Vandyke wrote to Reynolds in court documents. “I took a plea bargain instead of taking it to trial.”

Vandyke said she would like to take the guilty plea back, and Reynolds scheduled a hearing for Sept. 21.

Vandyke did not explain in her letter to Reynolds why she wanted to take her guilty plea back.

Reynolds filed an order on Sept. 21 saying he denied Vandyke’s motion to set aside her plea of guilt.

Vandyke pleaded guilty to capital murder involving murder in the commission of rape in the first degree, and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, for the death of Tracy Brown, 44, who was Vandyke’s first cousin.

Vandyke, who lists an address in Billingsley, pleaded guilty to one of her charges in April.

She was originally charged with two counts of capital murder involving murder in the commission of rape in the first degree and murder in commission of sodomy in the first degree in connection with the death of Brown in 2010.

As part of her plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to dismiss the capital murder charge involving murder in the commission of sodomy in the first degree.

Vandyke’s case was scheduled to go trial Aug. 24, according to court records.

In May 2014, a Chilton County jury heard gruesome and graphic details about the way James Osgood and Vandyke attacked Brown on Oct. 13, 2010, in Brown’s bedroom.

Osgood was a co-defendant in the case and was Vandyke’s boyfriend at the time of the murder.

He was sentenced to death in June 2014 by Reynolds on two capital murder convictions.

Both Osgood and Vandyke forced Brown at gunpoint to perform sexual acts with both of them before Osgood slashed Brown’s neck several times with a knife or knife-like object before she died on the bedroom floor of her trailer off County Road 24.