A Stillwater woman faces an 18 1⁄2 year prison term after pleading guilty to manslaughter Thursday in the shooting death of her boyfriend in Schuylerville last year.
Joey M. Paul, 29, of 12 Birch Lane, pleaded guilty in Saratoga County Court to first-degree manslaughter, after initially being indicted for murder in the death of Matthew Furlani.
Paul admitted to Judge Jerry J. Scarano she intentionally caused the death of Furlani, her sometime-boyfriend, while under the influence of an “extreme emotional disturbance.”
Furlani was shot in the head with an assault rifle July 1, 2012, in an upstairs bedroom at 82 Church St. in Schuylerville,
Paul had maintained the loaded AK-47 went off accidentally as she was handing it to Furlani, who was concerned a knock at the door might be an ex-boyfriend of Paul.
In addition to the 18 1⁄2-year prison term Paul faces when sentenced by Scarano on Jan. 7, she also will receive five years of post-release supervision. She could have faced as much as 25 years in prison, the maximum sentence for manslaughter.
Neighbors said they heard arguing just prior to the gunshot, and several neighbors called 911 after hearing the shot. State police who responded to the scene found Paul there.
The couple had a tumultuous relationship prior to the incident, according to District Attorney James A. Murphy III.
The plea agreement came after Paul underwent evaluation at the Central New York Psychiatric Center in Marcy, Murphy said.
“This conviction is what we would have expected after trial,” he said. “She committed the murder, but would have been permitted to interpose the affirmative defense of ‘extreme emotional disturbance’ based on her previous medical diagnosis. Justice required that the judge and we consider that in this disposition.”
Paul has a significant prior misdemeanor record for minor thefts, but no previous felony convictions, Murphy said.
The family of Furlani was in the courtroom for the plea. They indicated that “while nothing can bring him back,” they are “grateful for the closure,” Murphy said.