LOCKPORT – A North Tonawanda woman who is charged with stabbing her live-in boyfriend to death rejected a plea offer Wednesday, and her attorney said she is likely to pursue her self-defense claim in a trial.
Jennifer Marchant is charged with first- and second-degree manslaughter in the Feb. 6 death of Ralph D. Stone Jr., 24, in the couple’s Oliver Street apartment.
Marchant, 24, originally was charged with murder, but the grand jury did not indict her on that charge.
Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann told Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas that the plea offer was first-degree manslaughter with a 15-year sentencing cap. The legal maximum for that charge is 25 years.
“We’re not in a position to accept that,” Saraceno told Farkas.
“A cap of 15 just isn’t acceptable,” Saraceno said in an interview after court. Asked if Marchant, who is free on a $100,000 bail bond, would change her mind before the Oct. 7 trial, Saraceno said, “That’s unlikely.”
He said that before he entered the case, Marchant’s former attorney, Steven M. Cohen, received a second-degree manslaughter plea offer, which entails a 15-year maximum sentence, but that also was rejected.
In order to take any guilty plea, Marchant, who formerly performed in pornographic videos under the name of “Scarlett Rouge,” would have to drop the contention that she killed Stone in self-defense.
Saraceno said, “If you look at the [crime scene] pictures, there were signs of a struggle in the apartment. There’s only one stab wound, which is consistent with that kind of scenario.”
Saraceno said Stone had a history of domestic violence with other women, a contention denied by Stone’s friends in interviews with The Buffalo News in February.
Hoffmann, who said Wednesday was the first time a plea offer was discussed with Saraceno and Farkas, said she will leave the first-degree manslaughter offer and the 15-year sentencing limit on the table.
Farkas scheduled a hearing for Sept. 11 on the question of whether Marchant’s interview with North Tonawanda police and her 911 call will be admissible at the trial.