Jury recommends four-year prison sentence for Bedford woman convicted of manslaughter
BEDFORD, Va. (WDBJ) - In October 2020, Bedford police responded to a home on Salem Turnpike, where they found George Lamont Turner stabbed. He was taken to Bedford Memorial Hospital, where he died.
Laurie Lynn Coleman was charged with second-degree murder.
During the first day of her trial Tuesday, prosecutors said an argument between Coleman and her boyfriend Turner about him allegedly cheating on her led to her stabbing and killing him in their home.
One of Coleman’s daughters testified Tuesday. She said she was in another room in the home the night of the incident when she heard Turner say “she” stabbed him.
It’s not clear who the “she” he was referring to is, as Coleman and her other daughter were in the same room with Turner. However, she said she then saw Coleman with a knife in her hand only feet from Turner as he clutched his chest.
Her other daughter who was in the room testified Tuesday she couldn’t remember what happened that night.
A medical examiner testified Tuesday the stab injury to Turner’s chest wasn’t consistent with suicide.
Wednesday, Coleman was recalled to the stand, where she reiterated testimony Tuesday that she couldn’t remember how Turner was stabbed. She testified then that blackout due to alcohol she drank that night could be a reason.
Her defense attorney also played a clip of her sobbing during an interview with investigators after she was told Turner had died. Toward the end of the trial, he questioned if that behavior was consistent with malice, one of the qualifications for second-degree murder.
He also questioned why the knife was not sent off for forensic analysis.
Ultimately, the jury found Coleman guilty of voluntary manslaughter, a lesser charge that indicates malice was not present.
Turner’s mother took the stand Wednesday and read a prepared statement before the jury made their recommendation for sentencing.
“I miss my son so bad,” she said. “My whole life has changed.”
Coleman then apologized to Turner’s family, saying she would go back and change things if she could.
The jury recommended a sentence of four years in prison.
“We presented this case exactly how we planned. All the evidence we planned on presenting all came in. Obviously we were disappointed that she wasn’t found guilty of second-degree because we thought the facts warranted that,” said Christopher Dolen, chief assistant commonwealth’s attorney.
Coleman’s attorney declined to comment. Coleman is set to be formally sentenced in May.
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