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Published: Saturday, 6/15/2002

Woman gets 6 years in boyfriend's killing

A Toledo woman who fatally stabbed her live-in boyfriend during a quarrel in their West Toledo apartment was sentenced yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court to six years in prison.

Paula Mason, 36, was sentenced by Judge James Jensen for the Feb. 5 murder of Garland Hicks. He was stabbed once in the heart during a domestic quarrel in the couple's residence at 2450 West Central Ave.

Mason received sentences of six years each for voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter with a felonious assault specification and four years for involuntary manslaughter with a domestic violence specification. The sentences will run concurrently.

Mason testified during her jury trial last month that Mr. Hicks, 35, was stabbed when he attacked her. She said the fatal wound was inflicted in self-defense. She testified the fight started after he struck her head while she was sleeping, then choked her and held his knee on her chest.

Mason did not speak during yesterday's hearing. However, her attorney, John Thebes, read a letter she wrote expressing remorse and apologizing to Mr. Hicks' family.

Mary Lee, the victim's mother, showed a photograph taken of her son in the casket at the funeral home. “I want her to take a look at this picture. This is what she did to my son,” she said. Ms. Lee said her son loved Mason but she was not capable of loving him in return.

Mason testified she was holding the knife and fumbling with the chain lock on the door in an attempt to leave when the victim ran into her, putting the knife into his chest.

She said Mr. Hicks attacked her after she threatened to prosecute him for a rape that she previously reported to police and to turn him in to federal authorities for an out-of-state warrant on a drug charge.

Mr. Thebes asked the judge for a minimum two-year sentence because, in part, the victim provoked the quarrel that led to his death and Mason suffered from an abusive relationship with Mr. Hicks.

But Judge Jensen said Mason had the opportunity to retreat and walk away but instead engaged in a violent reaction that was excessive. “I can't in good conscience give her a minimum sentence,” the judge said.

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