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Ravell Call, Deseret Morning News
James William Tolbert, charged with killing Ann Poulson, listens to Poulson's brother speak in court Friday. Tolbert pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The man accused in the strangulation death of Deseret Morning News employee Ann Poulson will spend the rest of his life in prison without possibility of parole after pleading guilty to aggravated murder today.

Salt Lake County prosecutor Chou Chou Collins said the resolution in James William Tolbert's case means he'll never have the opportunity to kill another woman.

Tolbert, 42, also was convicted in 1987 of strangling his wife to death and served 18 years in prison before being released. It was while he was in prison that he met Poulson, who volunteered there as part of her church service.

Poulson wrote letters to the parole board on Tolbert's behalf and kept up the friendship after he was released.

Her body was found in her Murray home on Oct. 9 after worried neighbors called police because they had not seen her. Poulson had worked at the Deseret Morning News in accounting.

In exchange for his guilty plea before 2nd District Judge Thomas Kay, prosecutors agreed to drop a first-degree felony charge of aggravated robbery.

Tolbert showed no emotion as the sentence was pronounced. Afterward, prosecutors and defense attorneys said they were satisfied with the outcome.

For Poulson's family, the plea and sentencing helps to bring closure to the murder of the 68-year-old grandmother.

"We are relieved we don't have to have this drug through the courts for an indefinite period of time," said Alan Collier, her son-in-law.

He said the family was continuing to work on healing, taking solace in the memory of the kind of person she was.

"She lived a life of dignity and class."

E-mail: lindat@desnews.com