Fort Smith woman sentenced for killing ex-substitute teacher

January 18, 2020 GMT

FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) — A Fort Smith woman has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the beating death of a former long-time substitute teacher in the city’s school district.

Taylor Cynthia Elkins, 22, was sentenced Thursday as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. She had faced a possible life term if convicted of the July 2019 death of William Dubois, 72, in his Fort Smith home.

Prosecutors said Elkins was robbing Dubois when she became upset and beat him with a hammer because he had no cash.

Elkins was driving Dubois’ vehicle when she was arrested shortly after Dubois was found dead.

Dubois worked as a substitute teacher from 1973-2003 and worked part time in the athletic department at Fort Smith Public Schools, according to district spokeswoman Zena Featherston Marshall.