A man who pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the strangulation of his wife has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Daniel Wellington, 56, of Knapp Avenue drew the sentence Tuesday from Judge Maureen A. Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
Wellington initially was charged with murder, which carries 15 years to life in prison, in the Aug. 5, 2011, death of his 44-year-old wife, Doris, in their residence.
He pleaded guilty, however, to the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter, with the prosecution recommending a 10-year prison term.
The victim had been preparing to move out of the residence when she was strangled, said Natasha Frenchko, an assistant county prosecutor.
“You will get everything you deserve. If you have a conscience, I hope you never sleep. You are a true coward,” Kerisha Wallace, daughter of the victim, told the defendant.
“I feel like 10 years is not enough,” she said, adding that she would have preferred a life prison term for him.
“I have a hard time understanding why someone who claimed to honor and respect my mother would do anything to harm her,” said the victim’s son, Kerry Wallace Jr.
“I’m deeply sorry for what happened,” Wellington told the judge. “I had no intention of hurting her that night. ... All I wanted to do was be the best person I could be for her.”
On the night of the incident, police were called to the Wellingtons’ East Side home just after 1 a.m. for a report of a woman not breathing.
When police arrived, they found Wellington attempting CPR on his wife.
Paramedics arrived, but they also were unsuccessful in their attempts to revive her.
Wellington told officers he and his wife were arguing and she jumped on him. He told police he grabbed her around her neck to get her off of him, and she hit her head as they rolled off the bed.
Police, however, said Wellington had earlier told them by phone that he and his wife had argued and he choked her.
The Mahoning County Coroner’s office ruled the death a homicide by manual strangulation.
Frenchko said the strangulation occurred over a period of at least several minutes before Doris Wellington died.
“This was not something that was instantaneous,” Frenchko said.
Defense lawyer James Gentile said an appeal will be filed.
“This was an explosive, unfortunate incident,” Gentile told the judge, adding that 25 letters were sent to the court calling Wellington “a good man” and asking for leniency. Wellington has no prior criminal record.
“I think this is an unfortunate, tragic accident,” the defendant’s brother and pastor, the Rev. Rocco Wellington, told the judge. “I just ask mercy.”
The defendant will be on parole for five years after he leaves prison.