LOCKPORT – A Niagara Falls woman tearfully admitted in State Supreme Court on Friday that she killed the father of two of her four children.
Chamia N. Johnson dabbed at her eyes with a tissue as she pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of first-degree manslaughter in the stabbing death of Antoine Mallory, 39.
Johnson, 35, of Seventh Street, accepted a plea offer that included a commitment from Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. to a sentence of no more than 18 years in prison. The charge carries a mandatory minimum of five years behind bars. Kloch will make the call Oct. 14.
Niagara County Assistant Public Defender Michele G. Bergevin said she and her colleague, Michael E. Benedict, hope to convince Kloch to give Johnson something less than 18 years.
“We want to put together a good picture of what she’s all about,” Bergevin said.
Johnson originally was indicted on a murder charge, carrying a maximum of 25 years to life in prison, in connection with the Feb. 22 slaying of Mallory in an apartment at Monteagle Ridge Apartments in Niagara Falls.
Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffman said, “I believed it was an appropriate plea offer. I discussed it with the family.”
Hoffmann said the family approved the plea. Relatives of Mallory were in the courtroom but declined to be interviewed.
When Johnson was arraigned in April, Hoffmann said the reason for the killing was an argument over Johnson’s cable TV bill. She said Mallory allegedly had promised to pay that bill for Johnson and did not do so.
Bergevin contended Friday that scenario was false. “We want to emphasize that it was not over a cable bill,” she said. But Bergevin declined to offer a substitute version, saying it will come out at sentencing. Hoffmann did not respond to a request for further comment.
Mallory was stabbed once in the chest with a folding knife that Johnson allegedly threw away before surrendering to police the next day.
Johnson continues to be held without bail in Niagara County Jail.