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Published: Wednesday, 11/16/2005

Plea deal reached in slaying trial

A 31-year-old Toledo woman who was using a self-defense claim at her trial in Lucas County Common Pleas Court entered a plea yesterday to reduced charges in the fatal stabbing of her boyfriend.

Justine Owens, who went on trial Monday, withdrew her not guilty plea to murder and instead pleaded no contest to the lesser offense of involuntary manslaughter. Judge Thomas Osowik found her guilty and released the jury that was hearing testimony in the trial.

The defendant's boyfriend, Shawndale Robinson, 24, was stabbed once in the chest during a domestic dispute Dec. 1 in the couple's home at 2058 North 14th St.

Jeff Lingo, a county assistant prosecutor, said Owens provided as many as four accounts of the events in the home that day, including admitting to a police officer she stabbed him but failing to mention it was done in self-defense.

Mr. Lingo said an autopsy showed the 4 1/2-inch steak knife penetrated nearly eight inches into the chest of the victim, conflicting with Owens' story that he fell on her during a struggle in the home.

"It would have taken a significant amount of force to compress the chest to cause an eight-inch wound path," Mr. Lingo told the court.

Owens will be sentenced Nov. 29. She faces a prison sentence of three to 10 years.

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