JAY, Okla. – A lifelong friend of a murdered Delaware County woman called her killer a “wicked coward” and “greedy” while reading a victim impact statement.

John Hackathorn, 54, of Zena, pleaded guilty on Monday in Delaware County District Court in Jay to the November 2020 slaying of his wife, Mary Ann Hackathorn, 60.

Associate Judge Jennifer McAffrey sentenced Hackathorn to a life sentence with the chance of parole and ordered that if he was ever released, he would be required to pay $20,000 in restitution. 

Hackathorn must serve 85 percent of the life sentence before he is eligible for parole, which is 38 years and three months behind bars.

“The murder of Mary Ann is a tragedy,” said Kenny Wright, District Attorney. “She was truly a pillar of the Jay community and will be greatly missed by all that knew her. She contributed to causes great and small when she saw opportunities to help people.”

Although the grief of loss continues, Wright said he was glad for Mary Ann Hackathorn’s friends and family that the criminal process is at an end.

The courtroom was filled with Mary Hackathorn’s relatives and life-long friends, several of whom were wiping tears during the 30-minute hearing.  John Hackathorn appeared in the courtroom dressed in orange jail clothes.

The couple, who were married for 15 years, had been fighting over their ranch property prior to the deadly shooting.  Court documents show most of the ranch property was in Mary Ann Hackathorn’s name.  

Mary Hackathorn had filed for divorce in April 2018 but no divorce was ever granted.

“She was my best friend,” said Dr. Kathy Dunaway-Knight as she read a victim impact statement on behalf of the family and friends.

Dunaway-Knight referred to her friend’s brutal murder as “utter wickedness and cowardness” by John Hackathorn.

An autopsy report shows Mary Hackathorn died of multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and stomach and listed the manner of death as a homicide. She was fatally shot by her husband four times while sitting in a chair, according to court documents.

In earlier court testimony Dunaway-Knight said she received a telephone call from John Hackathorn saying he had killed his wife and wanted Dunaway-Knight to come and get the couple’s dogs.

“Mary had been defenseless,” Dunaway-Knight said. “He was more concerned about the dogs than Mary.”

Dunaway-Knight spoke about 60 years of friendship, Mary’s generosity to the community, school and children and especially to her own children.

“Mary’s love was ripped out of our lives because of John’s wickedness,” Dunaway-Knight said.  

Mary’s death left a hole in my heart, she said.