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What you need to know for 10/22/2017

Schenectady woman admits fatally stabbing boyfriend

Schenectady woman admits fatally stabbing boyfriend

A woman admitted Tuesday to stabbing her boyfriend to death last year in exchange for a sentence of

A woman admitted Tuesday to stabbing her boyfriend to death last year in exchange for a sentence of 15 years in prison.

Jacqueline Smalls, 51, formerly of Van Vranken Avenue, told visiting Judge Michael V. Coccoma she stabbed her longtime boyfriend, Adrian L. King, once in the chest Aug. 26, 2012, during an argument in the kitchen of the apartment they shared.

Smalls pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter, reduced from second-degree murder.

Smalls told Coccoma she grabbed a knife from the counter and stabbed King once.

“I started screaming ‘Oh my God! Oh my God!’ ” Smalls told Coccoma of what happened after the stabbing.

King then fell to his knees. Smalls fled the apartment, but stayed outside while another person in the apartment called 911.

King soon died. Prosecutor Christina Tremante-Pelham told Coccoma during Tuesday’s proceedings the one stab wound from the knife meant a jury could have returned a manslaughter verdict.

The threshold for manslaughter is intent to cause serious physical injury that resulted in death. Second-degree murder requires intent to kill.

Based on the evidence, she told Coccoma manslaughter was appropriate. Tremante-Pelham also told Coccoma prosecutors concluded Smalls did not have a viable claim for self-defense.

Smalls’ attorney, Adam Parisi, appeared ready to argue self-defense at trial, which had been set to begin in December.

Parisi afterward noted allegations King had previously physically attacked Smalls. In one instance, in May 2012, King even admitted in court he choked her, pleading guilty to criminal obstruction of breathing about three months before he was killed.

“It would have been an issue at trial in terms of a defense that this guy admitted to coming after her and choking her,” Parisi said.

Smalls, however, noted in court that in pleading guilty she gave up any claim of self-defense. Smalls also acknowledged King was unarmed at the time she stabbed him.

Prosecutors believe the argument may have been over drugs. No one was in the kitchen with them at the time, but others in the house saw and heard different things that suggested drugs as the topic of the argument, Tremante-Pelham said.

In court, Smalls didn’t say what the argument was about, but did say she had been drinking.

Smalls is scheduled for sentencing Dec. 9.

King was charged three separate times with either choking Smalls or preventing her from calling police, court records have indicated. Police said there was no evidence he attacked her the night of his death, however.

The indictment against Smalls also referred to an earlier incident where Smalls was accused of menacing King. King had been charged the same day, July 30, 2012, in an incident where Smalls was deemed the victim.

At the time of King’s death, Smalls was wanted for alleged drug sales earlier in the year. But a problem with the warrant, in part traced to communication issues between police and the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office, led to Smalls not being taken into custody on the drug charge.

Smalls entered a special plea earlier this year on the drug charges. That sentence will run at the same time as any sentence in King’s death.

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