CLAYTON, Missouri — A 70-year-old St. Louis County woman initially charged in her husband's stabbing death has been sentenced on reduced charges that could keep her out of jail for all but three months.
Mary Ann Mullenix was initially charged with second-degree murder, tampering and armed criminal action in the July 2013 death of real estate developer Ivan Mullenix Sr., 76, at the couple's home in the affluent suburb of Country Life Acres. She had faced the possibility of a life sentence.
Mullenix was convicted of second-degree involuntary manslaughter and sentenced Thursday to five years of probation and a three-month alcohol treatment program, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (bit.ly/12HfO0B ) reported. She will have to serve four years in prison if she violates her probation.
Prosecutors said the charges were reduced because Ivan Mullenix had a history of domestic abuse against his wife, who could have raised a claim of self-defense.
Police reports show that officers were called to the home several times in recent years. Once, Mary Ann Mullenix alleged her husband choked her in a rage and threw her to the floor, and he claimed she hit him in the face with an 8-pound dumbbell. Authorities said neither would pursue charges.
The plea deal was met with outrage from Ivan Mullenix's three adult sons from his first marriage, who said they only found out about a week ago that prosecutors had decided to reduce the murder charge and not seek a trial.
"She got off easy," Michael Mullenix said. "No jail term is long enough for what she did. She's going to 'play jail' for 90 days?"
Defense attorney Scott Rosenblum said involuntary manslaughter was appropriate because his client caused her husband's death with "criminal negligence," in that she was holding a knife during a physical altercation. Rosenblum said the stabbing "was sort of an impalement."
The couple had been married for more than 40 years and had four children. Two of those children — including one who was at the home the night her father died — told the judge they loved and missed their father but supported their mother.
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com
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