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Girlfriend sentenced in stabbing

A Clearwater woman gets the minimum of slightly more than 10 years in prison for killing her boyfriend.

Published January 14, 2006

LARGO - A Clearwater woman who stabbed her boyfriend to death during an argument last spring was sentenced to about 10 years in prison Friday.

Jacqueline Jenkins, 45, was convicted of manslaughter late last year in the May stabbing death of John W. Shaw, 49. Prosecutors said the couple got into an argument over the care of their 7-year-old daughter.

Jenkins armed herself with a kitchen knife and stabbed Shaw in the heart. Then she called 911 and admitted to stabbing Shaw. She tended to his wound until paramedics arrived and took Shaw to the hospital, where he died.

Jenkins' defense was that Shaw had beaten her that night and throughout their relationship. However, prosecutors said no wounds or bruises were found on Jenkins after the stabbing.

Prosecutors said they also could find nobody who contended that Shaw had beaten Jenkins in the past. In fact, they presented evidence that Jenkins had stabbed Shaw once before.

"This is not an isolated incident," prosecutor Frank Piazza said, though neither Jenkins nor Shaw had an arrest record for domestic violence.

State sentencing guidelines required Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Robert Morris to give Jenkins a minimum of slightly more than 10 years in prison. Jenkins' attorney, Barry Cobb, asked Morris to depart from those guidelines and sentence her to five years instead.

Several of Jenkins' family members tearfully asked Morris to have mercy. Cobb held back tears as he spoke to the judge.

"I try not to get emotionally involved with my cases, but I missed the mark here," Cobb said. "I've come to know her, and I think she's a good person."

Cobb said sending Jenkins to long-term prison essentially would deny her daughter, now 8, of both parents. "She lost her dad forever, and she's going to lose her mom," Cobb told the judge. "For however long is for you to decide."

Shaw's family sat on the other side of the courtroom, behind the prosecution. They declined to comment after the hearing.

Before sentencing Jenkins, Morris agreed the case was difficult but said the Legislature created sentencing guidelines so they would be followed.

"It's clear there is loss all over this room," he said.

Prosecutors said the couple's daughter is being cared for by an adult daughter whom Shaw had in a previous relationship.

[Last modified January 14, 2006, 01:38:14]

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