Smyrna woman gets four years in jail for fatally shooting husband

SMYRNA — A Smyrna woman received a 25-year prison sentence, suspended after four years, for shooting her husband to death during a domestic violence-fueled confrontation in 2014 that shattered two families.

During a 55-minute hearing in Kent County Superior Court, Amanda G. King was deemed to be experiencing severe emotional distress after years of abuse when she shot her husband James E. King, 68, at their home at approximately 3:06 a.m. May 28 in 2014.

Mrs. King, 57 at the time of the incident, earlier pleaded guilty to manslaughter. The couple was married for more than 34 years before the shooting.

Amanda G. King

Amanda G. King

Mrs. King also was ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution to a victim’s fund, and cost of prosecution, among other conditions. She will serve two yeas of Level III probation after her time in prison ends.

In an extensive review before announcing sentencing, Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr. noted mutual domestic violence in the relationship, and the defendant’s earlier failed attempts to leave meant “unfortunately staying was the jumping off point for the tragic events that occurred.”

The late Mr. King’s daughter Lisa pushed for a maximum sentence when addressing the court and said afterward “justice was not served” for what she described as a “murder.”

She did not believe that four years incarceration was an acceptable trade-off for “someone who can’t be brought back.”

According to the court, 22 reported domestic violence incidents, some with convictions, occurred beginning in the mid-1980s.

Deputy Attorney General Greg Babowal said afterward, “Domestic violence is a tragedy for the entire family involved.

“In this case, the consequences were irreversible. The judge heard the facts and history and based his sentence on those factors.”

Judge Witham acknowledged that Mrs. King was raised from a young age in a culture of domestic violence, and had three significant adult relationships with the same characteristics.

“(Amanda King) was raised in an atmosphere where domestic violence was a fact of life, a thing to be endured,” defense attorney Anthony Capone said.

Mr. King was a decorated Army and Marine veteran who served two tours of duty in Vietnam, was a gunnery sergeant and provided for his wife’s needs, but also degraded and abused her, according to Mrs. King in a pre-sentence interview, the court said.

Speaking before the court, Mrs. King said she offered her most “heartfelt” apologies to her husband’s children and said, “I loved him more than anything on earth.”

She hoped, in time, forgiveness would emerge from his family.

In court, a case where Mrs. King declined to cooperate with police after taking a gunshot to the scalp from Mr. King in 1996 was referenced. Judge Witham described the relationship as a classic case of the cycle of domestic violence that continues despite ongoing abuse.

“This case is extremely troublesome for the court,” said Judge Witham, who described the relationship as loving but tumultuous with the worst possible way to end the abuse resulting.

Regarding Mrs. King, Judge Witham opined “at best it’s a tragic and lifetime blot on you and the family” and the events “maimed and traumatized two sets of families.”

Mrs. King could shave some of the sentence off with good time served. Sentencing guidelines called for two to five years, according to the public defender’s office, and Mrs. King has been a model inmate since her incarceration.

In remarks before the court, Deputy Attorney General Babowal requested a sentence of “substantially more” than the mandatory minimum required and said the “defendant had numerous opportunities to address issues with police and other state agencies but failed to do so.”

Mr. Capone said Mrs. King’s husband was not only her abuser but the love of her life, and she killed her worst tormentor who was also her best friend.

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