COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A mother of six has admitted to stabbing and killing her longtime boyfriend with a multi-purpose tool.
Forty-eight-year-old Rozellette Blackshire was scheduled to go trial Monday for the murder of 56-year-old Eddie Porter but Friday, she accepted a plea deal, opting out of a trial.
Assistant District Attorney Don Kelly says back in June of 2008, Blackshire gave a written statement to police saying her and Porter, her longtime boyfriend, got into an argument at her home on Tillman Street, off Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Columbus.
Blackshire had been running errands and says Porter did not want her to go back out because he had taken the day off from work so they could spend time together. Blackshire says she was sitting in her car and Porter hit her with the car keys and then his fist and grabbed her. During the struggle, she says she grabbed a multi-purpose "fishing" tool with a blade from the door pocket and when Porter pulled her down on top of him, she stabbed him once in the chest in self-defense.
Kelly says an autopsy on Porter shows his blood alcohol level was .18 at the time of his death.
Blackshire's attorney, Mark Casto, says she has been diagnosed with depression and suicidal tendencies with post traumatic stress syndrome because she has been the victim of sexual and physical abuse from the age of 9. The defense hired an expert psychologist who said Blackshire's mental state could have been altered at the time of the stabbing because she is a long standing victim of abuse and she may have felt grabbing the tool was her only option. But despite her mental problems and the elements of self-defense, Casto says Blackshire decided not to take any chances with a murder trial.
"She loved Mister Porter, the deceased in this case, and it was a terrible situation all around so it was a very difficult decision for her to make. There was enough testimony that would have been presented against her that there was a possibility she could be convicted of murder which would require a mandatory life sentence," Casto said.
Blackshire pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced by Chief Muscogee County Superior Court Judge John Allen to 20 years, 10 of which she will spend behind bars in a state penitentiary and the remainder on probation. Allen says the case involved "unfortunate circumstances but a life has been taken."
Kelly says the 2008 case was delayed because of the psychological exams done on Blackshire and the "slowness of the system because of budget cuts the state's made to psychological hospitals."
"It was a difficult case because the witnesses were her relatives and the evidence was that Mister Porter was the aggressor in the incident, however, he did not use deadly force and Miss Blackshire did and that's how we got to where we are today." Kelly added.
Eddie Porter's family declined an interview after court but his daughter issued this statement to WTVM: "We know what he meant to us. We know what we will miss."
Casto says Blackshire will be eligible for parole.
WTVM reported on Rozellette Blackshire in 2006, before the murder, when she was accused of forcing her then 16-year-old daughter to drink turpentine, trying to induce an abortion.
Blackshire was charged with criminal abortion and first degree cruelty to children after Columbus Police revealed she forced her daughter to take a quantity of turpentine on two different occasions explaining to her that their help would help kill her baby and do away with her pregnancy.
Detectives say the teen was forced to take turpentine mixed with sugar to chase off the jarring taste. Police were called to investigate after the girl told her school counselor that her mother made her drink the turpentine.
Relatives may have tried to terminate the pregnancy after discovering the father of the baby is over 30-years-old.
The teenager involved in the case was lucky. Initial exams showed no injury to her or the fetus.
Court records show the abortion and cruelty charges against Blackshire were eventually dead docketed.