Woman ac­cused in fa­tal stab­bing faces trial

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - DAILY LOCAL NEWS - By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @Mont­coCourtNews on Twit­ter

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.

Shakira Hay­ward

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