DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit woman who was drunk when she killed a friend with a slow cooker during an argument over presidential politics was sentenced Monday to at least 23 years in prison.
A judge followed the recommended sentence in a plea deal between prosecutors and Tewana Sullivan, who has a history of bipolar disorder but was declared competent to go to trial.
Sullivan, 51, beat Cheryl Livy, 66, with a slow cooker at the victim’s Livonia apartment in October. At the time, Sullivan’s blood-alcohol level was 0.41 — five times the level for drunken driving in Michigan, defense attorney John McWilliams said.
“I didn’t take my medication like I was supposed to, so I did mess up,” Sullivan told Wayne County Judge Michael Hathaway. “Without me taking my medication, that was the worst thing I could ever have done.”
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McWilliams said the two were arguing about the 2016 race for president.
“One was for one major political party and the other was for the other major political party,” he said.
In May, facing a first-degree murder charge, Sullivan pleaded guilty but mentally ill to second-degree murder. She will be eligible for parole after 23 years and will get mental health care in prison. Her maximum sentence is 50 years.
She said she fears she’s “not going to make it” in prison and suggested the plea deal was a mistake.
“It’s a little late for that now,” the judge said.
McWilliams agreed, saying her second thoughts were “not well-placed.”
“The likelihood of conviction of first-degree murder was great. And the state wouldn’t have to give her mental health care,” he told The Associated Press.