By Associated Press - Sunday, February 15, 2015

COVINGTON, La. (AP) - A Slidell woman convicted of stabbing her son’s girlfriend to death has been sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Joan Faye Hartman, 56, won’t be eligible for release until she is 84 years old, even with 2 ½ years credit for time already served, the New Orleans Advocate reported ( ).

“She received a life sentence today,” defense attorney Martin Regan said.

The maximum penalty for manslaughter is 40 years.

Hartman was convicted of manslaughter in the death of 27-year-old Tanya Knower in 2012. Knower was killed at Hartman’s home, where Knower, Hartman’s son, Richard, and the younger couple’s two daughters lived.

Hartman’s attorneys spent several hours arguing for a more lenient sentence.

She had no previous arrests or convictions, suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and has only 30 percent of her heart function, Regan said.

He also presented testimony from a psychiatrist who said Hartman was extremely unlikely to ever again behave violently.

Other defense witnesses during the sentencing phase included a psychiatrist who testified about the potential negative effects of Xanax. Hartman had testified that Knower was addicted to the drug and became violent when using it.

While in jail, they said, Hartman has earned more than 100 certificates for completing programs and counseled other inmates.

Regan said there was evidence that Hartman was acting in self-defense and pointed out that Knower had stabbed the older woman eight years before.

Hartman’s attorneys are pursuing an appeal. Regan said he is optimistic a new trial will be granted because the prosecution brought in a witness the defense hadn’t known about in advance - a toxicologist.


Information from: The New Orleans Advocate,

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