DOVER — Jessica Rivera-Padilla, 24, will spend the next 11 to 22 years in state prison for killing her fiance, Shaheen Michaels, 25, on Christmas morning 2011 at the home they shared on Knox Marsh Road.
The state sought the maximum sentence of 15 to 30 years in prison. Padilla agreed months ago to plead guilty to the charge of manslaughter, but there was no agreement on sentencing.
The Michaels family — prosecutor Jeffery A. Strelzin told the sentencing hearing in Strafford County Superior Court on Monday — will have to spend the rest of their lives without someone they love.
The state argued that Padilla had experience with the gun used to kill Michaels, and cited an alleged affair Padilla was having with her boss.
“We had questions about her motives, given that we discovered she’d been having a yearlong affair on the boyfriend,” Strelzin said.
Investigators also learned that Padilla had been taught how to use the gun by Michaels and his brother at an area shooting range as recently as a month and a half before Michaels was shot. She had also learned about gun safety, according to court records.
Padilla admitted to shooting Michaels in the head at point-blank range around 2:30 a.m. on Christmas morning. Padilla said Michaels had been drinking heavily at a party, and he had become suicidal, asking her to shoot him.
She told police she was just trying to scare Michaels when she pulled the trigger while holding the gun to his head, and said she did not think it was loaded. First responders found her trying to give Michaels CPR, according to court records.
Padilla’s attorney argued for a sentence of 4 to 10 years, arguing that Padilla accepted responsibility for Michaels’s death from the beginning, and has consistently expressed remorse and empathy for the Michaels family.
Padilla’s plea includes a stipulation that she have no contact with the Michaels family.
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