Tonawanda News

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January 15, 2014

NT: Marchant guilty of manslaughter

Tonawanda News — A North Tonawanda woman was found guilty of first-degree manslaughter Wednesday in Niagara County Court for killing her boyfriend last year in her Oliver Street apartment. 

Jennifer R. Marchant, 24, will now spend up to 25 years in prison when she is sentenced on March 26, one year after she was freed on $100,000 bail for stabbing Ralph D. Stone once in his chest. 

After nearly two hours of deliberation Tuesday, it took only minutes Wednesday for the jury of 10 men and two women to render a decision. Marchant was handcuffed and remanded to Niagara County Jail following the verdict.

The six-day trial included the testimony of three police officers who entered Marchant's second-floor apartment the evening of Feb. 6, moments after she stabbed Stone, who died in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor shortly after their arrival. 

Witnesses said Stone and several friends began partying in Marchant's apartment at 2:30 p.m. that day. Toxicology reports showed his blood alcohol content was 0.285 at the time of death. 

Marchant, who under the name "Scarlett Rouge" spent time performing Internet pornography, had admitted to grabbing a knife from a butcher block in her kitchen and inflicting the wound, but said it was in self-defense, claiming Stone chased her around the apartment, breaking through locked doors and twice aggressively pulling her hair. 

But the claim was not enough to prevent the conviction, which was at least in part based off the jury's decision that Marchant did not face the possibility of deadly bodily harm, a key factor in a first-degree manslaughter charge.  

Her attorney, Dominic Saraceno, said the verdict was the result of weak domestic violence laws in New York state compared to those in places like Florida, where the stand your ground law may have negated the manslaughter charge. 

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