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Half of ‘Thelma and Louise’ Gets 10 Years in Prison

February 23, 1996 GMT

HOUSTON (AP) _ A minister’s daughter, half of a pair of suspected robbers whose alleged cross-country crime spree earned them the nicknames ``Thelma and Louise,″ turned on her partner in a plea bargain.

Joyce Carolyn Stevens received a 10-year sentence for pleading guilty to three charges of aggravated robbery. She will be eligible for parole in five years.

The plea bargain came Thursday, a day before jury selection began for her partner, Rose Marie Turford, who is being tried on aggravated robbery charges. Attorneys began questioning 80 prospective jurors Friday.

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Ms. Stevens, the 31-year-old daughter of a Houston minister, gave prosecutors a detailed account of her exploits with Mrs. Turford as part of her plea bargain.

``She made a written, sworn statement outlining everything that occurred,″ prosecutor Dan Rizzo said. ``The how and the why.″

Mrs. Turford faces up to 99 years in prison if convicted.

Authorities believe the pair netted some $250,000 in cash and goods by devising elaborate schemes, including a fake dating service, to fleece men in Las Vegas, Houston and Galveston, Texas.

They were arrested in Houston last March and charged with aggravated robbery and kidnapping. They jumped a combined bail of $500,000 in May, then went on a crime spree across the country, police said, earning the nicknames from a 1991 movie of the same name.

They were captured in Toronto in October. Mrs. Turford, 36, is originally from London, Ontario.