LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - A man whose murder conviction and life sentence had been overturned has been sentenced to 15 years in prison in the 2010 death of his wife.
Fifty-three-year-old Donald Southworth was sentenced Friday on manslaughter charges after entering an Alford plea in Fayette Circuit Court last month, the Lexington Herald Leader (https://bit.ly/1pdlcmE) reported. An Alford plea is not an admission of guilt but an acknowledgment that there is enough evidence to convict.
Southworth had been scheduled for a new trial after the state Supreme Court rejected his 2012 murder conviction and life sentence. The court overturned the conviction in 2014 and ruled that prosecutors had failed to prove that Southworth had placed semen from a used condom at the scene of his wife’s slaying and shouldn’t have been able to introduce it as evidence.
Lou Anna Red Corn, Fayette first assistant commonwealth’s attorney, said with the loss of the evidence, the prosecution “determined the best outcome would be to do a plea, permit him to plead guilty to 15 years, and keep him in prison for as long as we possibly could.”
His wife, 44-year-old Umi Southworth, was found severely beaten under a box spring in a brushy area behind her home in June 2010. She was taken to a hospital, where she died the next day.
Southworth will be eligible for parole in about six years because of time already served.
Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, https://www.kentucky.com
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