James William Tolbert

James William Tolbert, who was sentenced last year to life in prison without parole for murdering Deseret Morning News employee Ann Poulson, has been sentenced this month to another prison term for a different crime.

Tolbert, 42, had been charged for hitting a man in the head with a "crowbar-type object" in a Woods Cross residence in 2007. He recently pleaded guilty to third-degree aggravated assault in this case and was sentenced Feb. 11 by 2nd District Judge Michael Allphin to five years to life in prison.

Tolbert on Dec. 14, 2007, pleaded guilty to aggravated murder for strangling Poulson to death in her Murray home and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Poulson, 68, had met Tolbert through a church prison ministry with her husband, who now is in a care center due to health problems. Ann Poulson, despite her own challenges, nonetheless continued to extend kindness to Tolbert after he was paroled in 2006.

However, police said their investigation showed Tolbert eventually began pestering Ann Poulson for cash, wanted to move into her house and was doing drugs while paroled.

Her Oct. 6 murder came to light a few days later when neighbors noticed they had not seen her for a while and the ordinarily reliable Poulson had not shown up for work at her part-time job in the accounting department at the Deseret Morning News.

Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said it was important to pursue the Davis County charge against Tolbert even though Tolbert had already been sentenced to life in prison with no parole for Poulson's murder.

It is always possible that an appeals court might overturn the murder conviction and/or sentence, he said.

In addition, the victim in the Davis County case deserves justice, too.

"We have a real victim who was injured significantly and we felt it was a case worthy of prosecution," Rawlings said. "We don't feel he should get a break for a serious crime in Davis County just because he committed a more serious crime in Salt Lake County."

E-mail: lindat@desnews.com