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Visitation limits spark letters from Michelle Reynolds

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Michelle Reynolds, serving a 20-year prison sentence in connection with the death of her husband, recently has penned letters to local officials asking why her children are restricted from seeing her.

Reynolds, 43, is forbidden in her sentence by Floyd County Superior Court Judge J. Bryant Durham from seeing the children she had with Thad John Glenn Reynolds, who on July 5, 2004, was fatally stabbed by Richard Scott Harper.

Despite that restriction, Reynolds saw one of her children on Mother’s Day at Pulaski State Prison in Hawkinsville, where she’d recently been relocated, District Attorney Leigh Patterson said.

Patterson learned about the visit days later, and sent a copy of Reynolds’ sentence to the prison warden, the prosecutor said.

Reynolds has written two letters to Barbara Penson, Floyd County Superior Court clerk, asking for documents related to her visitation rights.

Reynolds claims a court order restricts her children’s visitation, and she wants copies of the pertinent documents.

Patterson, however, said no special court order exists about who can see Reynolds. Instead it’s part of the sentence Reynolds received when she pleaded guilty Jan. 13, 2010, to voluntary manslaughter and burglary in connection with her husband’s death.

Patterson said Reynolds was fully aware of the visitation restriction when she filed her plea.

“We do it all the time when people are adults — no contact with whomever. That’s not anything new. That’s a standard order in almost every murder case I’ve had, even if they’re the same family.”

Prosecutors have said that Michelle Reynolds and Harper, who both attended the church where Harper served as youth minister, had an “all consuming affair” that lead to the plot to kill Reynolds’ husband.

Thad Reynolds was found July 5, 2004, fatally stabbed at the Calhoun Road Frito Lay distribution center. Harper’s prescription glasses and a knife sheath were found at the scene, and both he and Michelle Reynolds were arrested days later.

Harper, 42, pleaded guilty in October 2008 to murder. He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole. Reynolds pleaded guilty in January 2010. She was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

According to Patterson, Reynolds initially was held at Arrendale State Prison in Alto. She was later transferred to Pulaski State Prison.

Reynolds on June 23 sent her first correspondence to Penson about her visitation. Her second letter reached Penson’s office July 31. In both letters Reynolds asks for a copy of an “exparte order” that purportedly removed one of her children and her grandson from her visitation list. Reynolds also states that a general population counselor told her a court order removed her daughter and grandson from the list.

Patterson said Durham’s sentence is what keeps Reynolds’ children away.

Patterson pointed to the transcript of the guilty plea.

“The sentence will be ten years on Count 1 reduced to voluntary manslaughter, and on the burglary, Count 9, ten years to run consecutive; will be credit for time served since July the 8th, 2004; no direct or indirect contact with the children of the marriage,” the transcript states.

“Do you understand what the recommendation is?” the judge asked Michelle Reynolds.

“Yes, sir,” she replied.

Cheryl Sullins, Michelle Reynolds’ mother, said the court document “conveniently left out the age of 18.”

“It seems that no one is taking into consideration the children,” Sullins said.