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LAWRENCE COUNTY Woman pleads guilty to stabbing



Published: Fri, November 16, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Alesia Ward has been in jail since her arrest in February.

By LAURE CIOFFI

VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- A city woman has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the stabbing death of her male roommate.

Alesia Ward, 35, appeared before Judge Ralph Pratt of Lawrence County Common Pleas Court earlier this week to enter the plea. A date has not been set for her sentencing.

District Attorney Matthew Mangino said his office is recommending Ward be sentenced to 15 to 30 months in prison, followed by 24 months probation.

She had faced a general charge of criminal homicide.

Ward remained in Lawrence County Jail on Thursday afternoon. She initially had been ordered to jail without bond, but Judge Pratt set her bond at $10,000 after she entered her plea.

What happened: Police officers arrested Ward on Feb. 22 when they found her roommate, David Cox, lying on his back in the area between the kitchen and living room of his Ward Street home.

He was clutching an open pocket knife in his right hand, they said.

An autopsy revealed that he had been stabbed once in the chest, just below the neck.

Ward told police she got into a fight with Cox over some spilled food. The two started to wrestle and she stabbed him with a steak knife she had in her hand, police said.

Plea agreement: Mangino said his office agreed to the plea arrangement after looking at the situation surrounding Cox's death.

"There are a number of factors that go into determining the appropriate charge. The circumstances under which this happened have the potential to raise the issue of self-defense and other variables that lead us to the point where we are at," Mangino added.

He did not want to talk about the specific details of the case before sentencing.

Ward's attorney, Jerry Cartwright, said the plea agreement is appropriate.

"My client has no previous criminal record. She was in her home at the time of this terrible accident and had no intention of harming Mr. Cox. I think the district attorney has given the appropriate plea," he said.




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