Victoria Everette, one of the first defendants in Baltimore to invoke the state's new battered women's syndrome defense, was sentenced to two years in prison yesterday for nearly killing her former boyfriend.
Although a jury last month convicted Everette, 33, of a lesser charge of assault, Judge John C. Themelis said he was imposing a prison sentence because she used a handgun in the crime and fired four bullets into the back of her boyfriend, Michael Alston in February 1990. Alston survived the shooting.
"After one or two shots, the victim wasn't a threat to anyone, but he was getting hit four times," said the judge, adding that there was evidence that Everette had unsuccessfully tried to reload the gun.
During its last session, the Maryland General Assembly passed a law allowing battered women who have been accused of killing or assaulting their spouses or mates to introduce evidence of their abuse at trial. In Everette's case, Sharon Holback, the prosecutor, asked for a 10-year prison sentence for the assault ,, conviction and a 3-year sentence for the handgun conviction. But Everette's lawyer, Howard Cardin, asked Judge Themelis to give her probation before judgment.
Judge Themelis said Everette had committed a serious crime and imposed a 10-year sentence for the assault, with two years in prison and five years of probation. In addition, he sentenced her to two years in prison for the handgun violation, which will be served at the same time as the assault sentence. He also refused to allow her out on bail while she appeals her conviction and sentence.
During her trial, Everette said Alston, 35, had abused her for years. She testified that they had been lovers since they were teen-agers and have a daughter. A little over three years ago, Alston broke off their relationship.
She said on the day of the shooting they had an argument on Chauncey Avenue in Reservoir Hill, and he began beating her. Everette testified she took a gun from her car and shot him in order to protect herself.
Alston, who had been convicted of armed robbery and manslaughter and served time in prison, denied abusing her and hitting her on the day of the shooting.