The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, August 18, 2021 7:00 pm

Defense seeking lesser charges in murder trial

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

Defense lawyers in a trial expected to end Thursday are seeking to replace a murder charge with two lesser charges – voluntary manslaughter or reckless homicide.

Closing arguments in Alisha Lampkin's trial are expected to begin this morning. Her defense admits she stabbed Tonisha Richardson, 25, Feb. 25, 2020, but she is claiming self defense.

Allen Superior Court Judge David Zent  Wednesday told attorneys Aaron J. Stoll, lead public defender, and John D. Kitch he would take the request under advisement. 

Allen County Deputy Prosecutor Tesa Helge objected to the lesser charges.

"She brought that knife with her and forcibly stabbed her so much she broke off that knife," Helge told Zent. "There’s no evidence at all that it was an accident." 

Both sides rested their cases Wednesday, but stayed in the courtroom to argue nuances in the definitions of self defense and forcible felony besides the two lesser charges. In Indiana, voluntary manslaughter is punishable by 10 to 30 years behind bars and up to $10,000 in fines; reckless homicide carries a sentence of one to six years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. 

Richardson died from a two-inch to 2 1/2-inch stab wound to the neck.

Lampkin, 29, had been in a prior relationship with Richardson’s boyfriend. The day of the stabbing, Lampkin sent him a Snapchat message: "Come outside or I’m poppin her tires. All 4."

The boyfriend said Lampkin arrived around noon at the Shoaff Park Villas apartment he shared with Richardson and had been knocking on their door, according to court documents.

He warned Richardson not to leave the apartment, but after he went to take a shower he saw Richardson looking out of the front window and then go outside. 

He didn’t think Richardson was out there more than three seconds before he went outside to break up a physical fight between the two women. The bloody knife blade was found in the parking lot and the knife handle on the sidewalk,  court documents said. 

In court documents, Lampkin told Fort Wayne police homicide detective Donald Lewis she was scared when Richardson came at and hit her so she stabbed her. Lampkin said she was still in her car when Richardson came out of the apartment to fight, so she decided to get the knife out of the center console armrest and exit her car to confront Richardson.

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