Murder conviction in TN college player's death
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) -- A jury on Monday convicted the roommate of Middle Tennessee basketball player Tina Stewart of second-degree murder in the athlete's 2011 stabbing death.
Jurors spent about two hours deliberating before reaching a verdict against 19-year-old Shanterrica Madden in the March 2, 2011, stabbing of Stewart at an off-campus apartment they shared in Murfreesboro. Madden also was convicted of tampering with evidence for trying to hide the knife used in the stabbing of the 21-year-old Lady Raiders player.
The defendant could face 15 to 60 years in prison for the murder conviction at sentencing, scheduled for July 16.
Madden showed no emotion after a circuit court judge read the verdict in a crowded courtroom in Murfreesboro.
Madden acknowledged stabbing Stewart but claimed she had acted in self-defense against her larger and more athletic roommate. Prosecutors had argued for first-degree murder when they said Madden's action was premeditated and intentional after Stewart reported her roommate for smoking marijuana.
The 21-year-old Stewart was a veteran on the team, which was preparing for the Sun Belt Conference tournament at the time. After Stewart's death, the Middle Tennessee women lost in an emotional opener at the conference tournament, received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament and then lost in the first round.
Head coach Rick Insell was in court during closing arguments. "We hope it brings some type of closure for the Stewart family and our basketball team," he said in a statement.
Although Stewart and Madden were both from Memphis, they didn't know each other until they were assigned the same apartment.
Madden, who is 4 feet 11 inches, told the jury the final argument in Stewart's bedroom became physical when the 5-foot-7 player began hitting her. Madden said she defended herself with a knife she took from Stewart's bed.
Prosecutors presented testimony and evidence at trial that showed that Madden didn't try to help Stewart after stabbing her. Instead, they said, she tried to hide her involvement, including by sending misleading text messages from Stewart's phone.
Assistant District Attorney Paul Newman had asked the 12-person jury if her argument of self-defense made sense given that Stewart had multiple knife wounds and that Madden acknowledged on the stand that she didn't do anything to help Stewart after the stabbing.
"She is not credible," Newman argued before the case went to the jury.
After the stabbing, Stewart was found by her boyfriend, who called for help. Stewart was pronounced dead at a hospital, and an autopsy showed she died from a stab wound to the chest that struck a major artery to her heart and punctured her lung.
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