Conflicting stories of domestic abuse marked a Jackson County hearing Thursday in which a Kansas City woman was sentenced to seven years in prison for killing her husband.
By MARK MORRIS
The Kansas City Star
However, a Jackson County judge sentenced Charleatha Nevins under a provision of state law that could permit her release in as little as four months, depending on her conduct in prison.
Nevins, 29, pleaded guilty in February to involuntary manslaughter after initially being charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action.
Eric C. Nevins, 25, was killed by a gunshot to the chest on Feb. 13, 2012, as he struggled with his wife over a pistol in the 3300 block of Forest Avenue.
Testimony at the two-hour hearing featured conflicting accounts of spousal abuse on both sides of the relationship.
Prosecutor Robin Sipe noted that Charleatha Nevins was arrested in 2008 for assaulting her previous husband. And Sipe said that Nevins had followed her husband for several blocks before the argument turned fatal in 2012.
“She doesn’t call 911,” Sipe said. “She doesn’t leave. She continues to follow him.”
In emotional testimony, Nevins said her husband had relentlessly abused her during their seven-month marriage, but that she was committed to saving the relationship.
“I loved him to death, and if I could,” she said, “I would trade places with him.”
Taloni Miller defended her brother’s character, describing him as a loving and spiritual family man.
“They may have screamed and fussed, and pushed and shoved each other, but it was mutual,” Miller said. “But he knew how to step away, which is what he did Feb. 13.”
Nevins testified that she’d driven to meet her husband and they argued over the use of a credit card. He walked away, and she followed in her SUV.
Finally, she said, he approached the driver’s side and began punching her, reaching for a handgun that was under a coat on which she was sitting.
A struggle ensued, and the gun discharged.
Discussing the sentence, Judge John Torrence said the conflicting abuse claims were secondary issues. Nevins, he said, had followed her husband for six blocks while carrying a loaded pistol.
“This community is overflowing with firearms that are too easily accessible,” Torrence said. “Blood is being spilled over spats, tiffs and arguments.”
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