Woman accused in fatal stabbing faces trial
COURTHOUSE >> A judge has set a February trial date for a Norristown woman accused of fatally stabbing her stepfather in the leg during an argument in their home.
Montgomery County Judge Todd D. Eisenberg set Feb. 7 as the day jury selection will commence for the trial of Shakira Hayward in connection with the March 9, 2016, stabbing death of her 37-year-old stepfather, Kenneth Bullock. The judge indicated he will hear any pretrial motions immediately before jury selection begins.
The trial is expected to last several days.
Hayward, 24, of the 300 block of East Marshall Street, faces charges of third-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, possessing an instrument of crime and tampering with or fabricating evidence.
A conviction of third-degree murder, which is an unjustified killing committed with malice, carries a maximum sentence of 20 to 40 years in prison upon conviction. A conviction of voluntary manslaughter carries a possible maximum sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison.
Earlier this year, defense lawyer Matthew W. Quigg failed to convince the judge to dismiss the third-degree murder charge against Hayward. At that time, Quigg argued prosecutors failed to present any evidence of “malice,” which is a hardness of heart, wickedness of disposition or a reckless indifference toward the value of human life.
Quigg argued with the absence of malice the crime is more akin to manslaughter and he suggested Hayward was acting in self-defense during the altercation, during which Bullock
suffered a stab wound to the lower left leg. Quigg argued Bullock suffered no wounds to the vital areas of the head, neck, heart or stomach.
Referring to the prosecution’s “own evidence,” Quigg implied Bullock “came at” Hayward and that she repeatedly warned Bullock to cease attacking her. After allegedly stabbing Bullock in the leg, Hayward told Bullock to get something to apply pressure to the wound, Quigg argued, referring to previous testimony.
But Assistant District Attorney Lindsay C. O’Brien argued prosecutors have sufficient evidence of malice to take Hayward to trial on the third-degree murder charge. O’Brien argued a verbal argument escalated when Hayward brought a weapon into the situation. O’Brien argued state courts have ruled that malice may be found in an unintentional homicide where the perpetrator “consciously disregarded an unjustified and extremely high risk that his actions might cause death or serious bodily harm.”
O’Brien alleged Hayward’s stabbing Bullock in the leg constituted reckless conduct equivalent to extreme indifference to human life.
Previous testimony revealed that at one point Bullock, after Hayward allegedly poked him in the hand with a knife,
retrieved a kitchen knife and came toward Hayward. However, Bullock had dropped that knife and was unarmed when Hayward allegedly stabbed him while he was on the stairs of the East Marshall Street residence, according to testimony and court documents.
Bullock drove himself to a local hospital and was pronounced dead at 8:55 a.m.
When police arrived at Hayward’s home after the alleged stabbing, they found her pouring water over blood on the sidewalk, according to the criminal complaint. Witnesses told detectives Bullock and Hayward had an argument over Bullock’s use of hot water in the home, and that Bullock had put his hand on Hayward’s face and shoved her during the altercation.
Hayward remains free after posting 10 percent of $150,000 bail in June. The judge previously said Hayward must wear a GPS tracking device while free on bail awaiting trial.