EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSRHONDA STEWART SENTENCE
from Eyewitness News Online
Rhonda Stewart Sentenced To 10 Years Of Home Confinement For Killing Husband Inside Hospital
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Reported: Mar. 19, 2013 2:56 PM EDT
Updated: Mar. 19, 2013 9:16 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
A woman who shot and killed her husband inside a busy hospital has been sentenced to home confinement. Rhonda Stewart learned that sentence on Monday, bringing to a close what has been a long and high profile murder case.
"I was out f my mind, I don't remember what I did but I am sorry for what I did," Stewart told the court.
Nearly four years after she shot and killed her husband as he lay in a hospital bed, Stewart asked the judge for mercy as she was sentenced for the second time. Her first conviction for first degree murder was overturned because information about alleged abuse by her husband Sammy was not allowed, this time it was.
"My mom has spent 53 years being abused in some form or another," Mickey Stewart said.
Stewart's daughter, Mickey, described years of physical and emotional abuse by her father. Mickey asked the judge to sentence her mother to home confinement.
"Sending her to prison is not the answer here, my dad is dead, he is not coming back, the only thing we have is to build from this," Mickey said.
A forensic psychologist testified that Stewart suffered from PTSD and depression when she killed her estranged husband and added that she believes Stewart intended to kill herself when she went to the hospital with a gun, but was startled when Sammy touched her arm and responded by shooting him.
But Prosecutor Mark Plants says this isn't a typical battered spouse case because Stewart left CAMC Memorial, after her estranged husband told her and her daughter to leave, then Stewart came back nearly an hour later with a gun.
"This is not a typical domestic violence situation, a typical situation is an immediate reaction to a threat," Plants said.
The prosecution could not argue their side at Stewart's sentencing though because they agreed to stand silent as part of a plea deal offered to Stewart for second degree murder. It's a charge that carries a 10 to 40 year punishment.
When asked why he didn't take the case to trial if he didn't believe the case was one of battered spouse, Plants said they maximized the sentence and got a second degree murder conviction. He says, as in all cases, it's up to the judge to set the sentence.
Judge Tod Kaufman sentenced Stewart to 10 years on home confinement. She was given credit for the four years she's already served in both jail and on home confinement so she has six years left of home confinement.
Rhonda Stewart was sentenced Tuesday afternoon to 10 years on home confinement with credit for nearly four years of time served in the slaying of her husband.
Stewart was sentenced in Kanawha Circuit Court for second-degree murder for shooting her husband to death while he was a patient at Charleston Area Medical Center in 2009. She had been on home confinement since the state Supreme Court threw out her first-degree murder conviction because battered wife syndrome was not allowed at trial.
Stewart said she is sorry and she doesn't know what happened to her the day she killed her husband. A psychiatrist said he believes she went to CAMC to kill herself, but her husband touched her arm and she reacted to it and shot him.
The psychiatrist said Stewart suffered from dependent personality disorder and depression.
Stewart's daughters described their mother as our protector, saying she would suffer physical abuse for protecting them. Stewart's daughter asked the court for home confinement for her mother, saying she had been a victim for 53 years and a home confinement sentence would give her a chance to rebuild her life.
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