JAY, Okla. (KSNF) – A lifelong friend of a murdered Delaware County, Oklahoma, woman called her killer a “wicked coward” and “greedy” while reading a victim impact statement.

John Hackathorn, 54, of Zena, Oklahoma, pleaded guilty on Monday in Delaware County District Court in Jay to the November 2020 slaying of his wife, Mary Ann Hackathorn, 60.

Associate Judge Jennifer McAffrey sentenced John to a life sentence with the chance of parole and ordered that if he was ever released, he would be required to pay $20,000 in restitution. 

John must serve 85% of the life sentence before he is eligible for parole.

The courtroom was filled with Mary’s relatives and life-long friends, several of whom were wiping tears during the 30-minute hearing. John appeared in the courtroom dressed in orange jail clothes.

The couple, who were married for 15 years, had been fighting over their ranch property prior to the deadly shooting. Court documents show most of the ranch property was in Mary’s name.  

Mary had filed for divorce in April 2018, but no divorce was ever granted.

“She was my best friend,” said Dr. Kathy Dunaway-Knight as she read a victim impact statement on behalf of the family and friends.

Dunaway-Knight referred to her friend’s brutal murder as “utter wickedness and cowardness” by John.

An autopsy report shows Mary died of multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and stomach and listed the manner of death as a homicide. She was fatally shot by her husband four times while sitting in a chair, according to court documents.

In earlier court testimony, Dunaway-Knight said she received a telephone call from John saying he had killed his wife and wanted Dunaway-Knight to come and get the couple’s dogs.

“Mary had been defenseless,” Dunaway-Knight said. “He was more concerned about the dogs than Mary.”

Dunaway-Knight spoke about 60 years of friendship, Mary’s generosity to the community, school and children and especially to her own children.

“Mary’s love was ripped out of our lives because of John’s wickedness,” Dunaway-Knight said. “Mary’s death left a hole in my heart.”