- Associated Press - Thursday, May 22, 2014

WHITEVILLE, N.C. (AP) - A Tabor City man has been sentenced to at least seven years in prison in the shooting death of his girlfriend on Christmas Eve 2012.

Authorities say a jury found 61-year-old Beamon Fowler guilty of voluntary manslaughter. He had been charged with first-degree murder in the death of 46-year-old Rebecca Ann Buffkin.

District Attorney Jon David says his office offered a plea deal for second-degree murder, but Fowler rejected it.

Superior Court Judge Gale Adams sentenced Buffkin to between seven years and nine years, five months in prison.

On Wednesday, Fowler testified that the killing took place as he and Buffkin fought and struggled for control of the weapon. He also testified that he was drunk that night and has little memory of what he told investigators.

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